As a single person living in Maryland, you may have used online dating services to find someone with whom to begin a romantic relationship. Or you may have tried out Tinder, the popular location-based app that lets you find people with whom to “hook up” for casual encounters. Tinder boasts that its “swipe right” technology currently results in 1.4 billion swipes and 24 million “matches” per day.

A lesser-known statistic, however, is the number of pregnancies, deliberate or unintended, that Tinder has also produced. For those women who choose to carry the baby to term, the result is a new phenomenon: the so-called “Tinder baby.” While some Tinder parents marry or at least continue their relationship, others do not. In such cases, a Tinder baby can pose many problems.

Women’s issues

If you are a single woman with a ticking biological clock, you may see Tinder or other electronic meeting mechanisms as a convenient way to have the baby you desire without needing to worry about establishing a meaningful relationship with the father. While true, you should consider the fact that single parenthood comes with its share of challenges.

You may well find yourself facing less-than-ideal financial issues for which you could use child support to make your and your baby’s life easier. If your baby resulted from a casual Tinder encounter, however, obtaining child support from the father could prove difficult.

Men’s issues

If you are a man, you may not even know when one of your Tinder encounters resulted in a child. This deprives you of the many benefits of fatherhood.

Even if your Tinder “hook-up” tells you of her pregnancy, you do not receive automatic fatherhood in Maryland if you and the woman do not marry each other prior to your child’s birth. Nor does she have to list you as the baby’s father on the birth certificate if she chooses not to.

This generally leaves you with two options. You can either get the mother to sign an Affidavit of Parentage acknowledging you as the baby’s father, or go to court to prove your paternity through genetic testing that results in a 99% probability that you are indeed the baby’s father.