You’ve Established Paternity. Now What?

Establishing paternity is important for your child. After all, he or she deserves a right to know who their father is. When it comes to establishing paternity, you typically have two options. First, if the father agrees that he is the father, all you will need to do is have him or her sign a form (assuming this is accepted in your state). If the father does not believe he is the father, or if you are unsure of whom the father is, a blood test is typically performed.

Most mothers typically establish paternity for a few specific reasons. The first reason is to simply be able to tell their child honestly who their father is, and hopefully, allow their child to build a relationship with this individual. Other reasons that mothers establish paternity is to help their child learn about any health issues they may have/get from their father or his lineage. Some mothers also establish paternity so that they can receive monetary help for raising the child, whether through joint custody agreements or child support.

Once paternity has been established, you may question what you’re supposed to do with the information. After you officially know who the father of your child is, you can use the information to do the following.

 Talk with the father about his desires.

Once paternity has been established, it’s important that you first have a conversation with the father to determine what he wants to do with this information. You may find that the father wants to be in his child’s life, and then you can both work out a plan that allows you to determine the best action plan for this situation. You may also find that the father wants nothing to do with the child, and in this case, you need to determine your next steps.

 Give the father time to build a relationship with your child.

If the father wants to be in the child’s life, help the father of your child build a relationship with your child. Give them time to meet one another and spend some time together. The bond between a father and a child is special and important to your child’s development, so try and strengthen this bond as much as possible.

 Create a custody arrangement.

If the father wants to be in the child’s life, it’s best to create a custody arrangement. This can be done on your own, through a mediator, or with a family lawyer. A custody arrangement will create a legal binding between you and the father that determines type of custody (sole or joint) as well as visitation and holiday schedules.

 Move on.

If the father doesn’t want anything to do with the child, it’s up to you to determine how to move on. For example, you may simply decide to keep the man out of your child’s life by completely removing contact and raising your child on your own. If you want the father to be responsible for the child even if he doesn’t want to, you can weigh your legal options to determine if it’s best to take him to court in order to receive child support payments or other benefits.

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