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Do You Need to Establish Paternity?


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What is paternity?

Paternity is the legal recognition of a man as the biological father of a child. Establishing paternity is important for both parents and children because it creates certain rights and responsibilities for each person.

Why is paternity important for a child?

When paternity is established, the father’s name can go on the birth certificate and the child gains legal rights such as inheritance and financial support. The child also has access to information about their family history from the paternal side. Knowing who one’s father is can help children understand their identity, build self-esteem, and develop a sense of belonging.

Why is paternity important for parents?

For fathers, establishing paternity gives them legal proof that they are the parent of a child so they may be able to provide financial support and have visitation or custody rights. For mothers, once paternity is established it allows them to seek court ordered financial support from the biological father in order to help support the child. Also, having a father in their life helps children to develop emotionally and socially. 

How can paternity be established?

Paternity may be established in several ways. In some cases, both parents may agree and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This is typically done at the hospital when the baby is born or through state agencies such as child support offices. Additionally, paternity can be established by court order if one parent contests it or if there is a dispute over who the biological father of a child is. In these cases, genetic testing may need to be completed to determine paternity. No matter how paternity is established, once it has been legally recognized then both parents have rights and responsibilities for raising their child and supporting them financially.

What if paternity is contested?

If paternity is being disputed, either parent may be required to take genetic testing in order to determine the identity of the father. If the results from these tests show that the man tested is not the biological father then paternity cannot be established legally. In cases where paternity can’t be determined, an attorney should be consulted for advice on how best to proceed. They can help to ensure that the rights of all parties involved are protected. 

Where can I go for more information about establishing paternity?

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to establishing paternity, your state or local child support office may be able to help. You can also visit the US Department of Health and Human Services website for more information. Establishing paternity is an important decision that can affect both parents and their children, so it’s important to get all the facts before making any decisions. With proper information and guidance, it is possible to make sure both parents’ rights are protected while also providing a child with the legal ties they need and deserve.

Now you have the information needed to make an informed decision about establishing paternity. Good luck!


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