It is increasingly common for children to be born to parents who are not married. So common, in fact, that it is no longer a stigma (when is the last time you heard or read of such a child being referred to as “illegitimate” or a “bastard”?
However, different papers need to be filed in a divorce when one or more children was born before the marriage. Divorce attorneys get busy and often forget to check this fact or ask about it.
There is a separate legal proceeding to legally declare the father of a child born to parents who were not married. If the case involving the child born prior to the marriage is filed as a paternity action (technically it should be an action for custody and support if the father is listed on the birth certificate), the case information is not publicly available on the Internet on casenet.net.
A legal declaration of the paternity – even if the father is on the birth certificate is important for a variety of reasons, especially in the event of the father’s untimely death.