What Does Establishing Paternity Entail?

Every child deserves to know who his or her parents are, and legally establishing paternity can be the one way to tell your child about his or her father. Establishing paternity legally through the court system is an important step in building a bond between your child and his or her father, and the following information will teach you more about paternity and what it entails.

Why is establishing paternity so important?
Your child deserves to know who his or her father is, and they deserve to build a bond with his or her father. Paternity is also beneficial in providing your child with information about his or her heritage and medical history. By knowing who the father is, your child can be alerted to possible pre-existing medical conditions as well as understand where their family heritage was established.

Establishing paternity through the courts can also include monetary benefits such as child support. Both parents are financially responsible for their own child, and when you establish paternity, you can use this information to create a joint custody agreement that obligates the other parent to pay for some of the child’s needs or you can use the information to receive child support payments.

Along with monetary benefits, establishing paternity can also provide your child with insurance benefits as well as inheritance benefits.

How is paternity established?
There are different ways to establish paternity. First, if the mother is married when she gives birth, the husband is, by law, considered the father as long as the father is on the birth certificate.

If the mother is not married when the baby is born, there are two options to establish paternity. First, if the mother knows who the father is, and the father accepts his paternity obligations, the mother and father both sign documentation stating their maternal and paternal rights.

If the mother does not know who the father is, or if the assumed father contests his paternity, then a paternity test, usually through DNA or blood, will be taken to establish paternity.

I you are on the child birth certificate but still have doubts that you are the father of the child, it’s important to take a DNA test to make sure. It’s very unfortunate to start building a relationship with a child and start paying child support only to find our later than the child is in fact not biologically related to you. It’s also possible that you will be responsible for a child that’s not yours if enough time has passed and you’ve already built a strong relationship with the child.

How long can paternity be established?
The limitation on establishing paternity varies from state to state and county to county. However, even if your child is beyond the limitation and they want to know whom their father is, he or she and the assumed father can still opt to take a DNA test on their own. If the limitation has run out, the mother may or may not be able to collect back child support payments, depending on the laws in your specific state.

Some court houses have recommended paternity clinics that they recommend. You can contact your local court house to get instructions on their paternity procedures.

What happens after paternity is established?
Once paternity has been established, it’s up to you to determine what you want to do with the information. You can use it to create a child custody agreement between you and the father so that both parents can equally raise the child. If the father does not acknowledge his paternity, you also have the option of taking legal action against him. There are many different parenting plan options that can be incorporated into a legal and physical custody arrangement. Choosing one that is in the best interest of your child is imperative. Before deciding, weigh your options and consider the best interest of your child and what works best for you and your Ex. Keep in mind that family law courtroom judge’s don’t want both parent’s to be in a child life and don’t want children to have to choose between parents. Taking these factors into consideration can make establish paternity and custody go a lot smoother.


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