Racing Against a Legal Clock

When Eddie* learned he was going to be a father, he was determined to be a good parent. When his daughter was born, the child’s mother was living with her new boyfriend. Even though the child was Eddie’s biological child, the mother listed her boyfriend’s name on the daughter’s birth certificate and wouldn’t let Eddie see their newborn. Eddie was devastated but wouldn’t give up.

Legally, Eddie was running the clock. He had only two years from his daughter’s birth to claim paternity and have his name listed on the birth certificate. If he failed, the mother’s boyfriend would be recognized as the legal father. Eddie first went to a court self-help program but his case was too complicated and urgent to handle on his own. He needed help fast.

Luckily, Eddie found the Harriett Buhai Center. Center staff saw Eddie was running out of time and quickly stepped into action. Before his daughter’s second birthday, the Center got Eddie a blood test to prove he was the biological father and established custody orders so he could see his daughter. Eddie is now correctly listed on his daughter’s birth certificate and has an active role in his child’s life.

“I am very grateful to the Harriett Buhai Center for their help with my case. If I had not gone to the Center, I would probably still be at odds with my child’s mother and lost in the huge court system. When I initially tried to do this by myself, I was overwhelmed and confused. The Center helped me make sense of the system and my rights as a father. I could not have received better services if I had paid for them. 

Beyond the legal help, the Center helped me and my daughter’s mother’s relationship. The Center showed us the importance of making decisions that benefit all of us. Because of the Center, the three of us now spend time as a family, I see my daughter every day and I know she is happy.”


* Client’s name has been changed to protect his privacy