The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Maryland

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Definitions

Citation: Est. and Trusts § 1-208

A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered the child of their birth parent. A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered the child of the parent who did not give birth to the child if any of the following apply:

  • The person has been judicially determined to be the child's other parent in an action brought under the statutes relating to parentage proceedings.
  • The person has acknowledged themself, in writing, to be the child's parent.
  • The person has openly and notoriously recognized the child to be their child.
  • The person has subsequently married the birth parent and has acknowledged themself, orally or in writing, to be the child's other parent.

Use of Parentage Registries

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Family Law §§ 5-1028; 5-1029

Unmarried parents shall be provided an opportunity to execute an affidavit of parentage in the manner provided under § 4-208 of the Health-General Article. The affidavit shall be completed on a standardized form developed by the Department of Human Services. An executed affidavit of parentage constitutes a legal finding of parentage.

On the motion of the Child Support Administration, a party to the proceeding, or on its own motion, the court shall order the birth parent, child, and alleged other parent to submit to blood or genetic tests to determine whether the alleged other parent can be excluded as being the parent who did not give birth to the child. The laboratory report of the blood or genetic test shall be received in evidence if the following are true:

  • Definite exclusion is established.
  • The testing is sufficiently extensive to exclude 97.3 percent of alleged other parents who are not genetic parents, and the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage is at least 97.3 percent.

A laboratory report received into evidence establishing a statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage of at least 99 percent constitutes a rebuttable presumption of their parentage.

Required Information

Citation: Family Law § 5-1028(c)

The completed affidavit of parentage form shall contain the following:

  • A statement that the affidavit is a legal document and constitutes a legal finding of parentage
  • The full name and place and date of birth of the child
  • The full name of the attesting parent who did not give birth to the child
  • The full name of the attesting birth parent of the child
  • The signatures of the parents of the child attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided on the affidavit is true and correct
  • A statement by the birth parent consenting to the assertion of parentage and acknowledging that their cosignatory is the only possible other parent of the child
  • A statement by the person who did not give birth to the child that they are the genetic parent of the child
  • The Social Security numbers of the parents

Before completing an affidavit of parentage form, the unmarried parents shall be advised orally and in writing of the legal consequences of executing the affidavit and of the benefit of seeking legal counsel.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Family Law § 5-1028

An executed affidavit of parentage is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the affidavit as follows:

  • In writing within 60 days after execution of the affidavit
  • In a judicial proceeding relating to the child in which the signatory is a party and that occurs before the expiration of the 60-day period

After the expiration of the 60-day period, an executed affidavit of parentage may be challenged in court based only on fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the challenger. The legal responsibilities of any signatory arising from the affidavit, including child support obligations, may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.