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Actress January Jones refuses to name baby's father

An unmarried mother in Georgia or any other state is not legally obligated to name the father of her child. In fact, a number of moms choose not to name the father of their babies for privacy purposes. However, some say this practice infringes on fathers' rights.

This issue has been a hot topic before and has recently come into the news again when actress January Jones announced last week that she was expecting her first baby. When questioned about the child's father, she refused to name him and stated that she plans to be a single mother. This could deprive the father of his custody rights, if he does not step forward himself and take legal action.

Jones is not the first unwed mother-to-be to make that decision. Last year, Padma Lakshmi, host of "Top Chef," failed to give up the name of her baby's father. Before that, actress Minnie Driver refused to publicly admit who her baby's father was. In 2006, Spice Girl Geri Halliwell stayed quiet about her baby's father's identity when she became pregnant.

Many unmarried mothers likely choose to not announce the fathers to protect their privacy. However, fathers' rights advocates argue that dads have an equal right to child custody, should they decide to exercise that right.

Even if a father is not named on a birth certificate, he is not entirely powerless. If a man has reason to believe he fathered a child, he generally has two or three years after the baby's birth, depending on the state, to request a paternity test. If the test proves he is the father, he can pursue custody and visitation rights. However, once paternity is determined, the father will be required to pay child support until the baby turns 18.

Source: FOX News, "January Jones Latest Leading Lady Not Naming Baby Daddy," Hollie McKay, 4 May 2011

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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