Five Reasons Unwed Fathers Should Establish Legal Paternity

When a child is born to married parents, paternity is considered clear cut. It is assumed that the husband of the woman who gave birth is the child’s father and he doesn’t need to take any action to claim paternity. However, if you are an unwed father, things are a little trickier. In order to have legal paternity of your child, and all the legal rights that come with paternity, you will need to take some action. This can occur in one of two ways. You and the child’s mother can sign a Declaration of Paternity (this typically occurs at the hospital at the time of birth but can also be done later) or if the child’s mother does not want to cooperate, you can get a court order.

Some fathers choose to avoid establishing legal paternity because they want to protect themselves from the responsibility that comes along with it. In other words, they do not want courts to be able to force them to pay child support if they do not remain a part of the child’s life. However, the fact of the matter is that the child’s mother can ask for a court-ordered paternity test if she is determined to force you to pay support. 

The bottom line, however, is that the positive things about establishing paternity far outweigh the negative, both for you and your child. Read on to discover the five biggest reasons unwed fathers should establish legal paternity:

1. You get to be involved in decision-making regarding your child.

Legal paternity gives you parental rights, allowing you to have a say in matters that greatly impact your child’s life, such as their education and their medical care.

2. It gives your child a stronger sense of identity. 

Knowing that you took action to be recognized legally as their father will mean a lot to your child and provide them with a stronger sense of identity. Many are shocked by what a big difference simply having one’s name on a child’s birth certificate makes in the closeness you feel.

3. You’ll have the right to ask for custody or visitation.

If you and your child’s mother separate, having legal paternity means you will still have the right to see or have custody of your child. You can petition the court for custody or visitation.

4. Your child will be eligible to share your benefits.

Establishing legal paternity is an important step in ensuring that your child will have access to your health and life insurance, social security, veteran’s benefits, and inheritance.

5. Your child can access your genetic history. 

Using genetic history to assess certain risks may be important to your child’s health down the line. Establishing legal paternity ensures that they will have this access.

If you are an unwed father and need help establishing legal paternity of your child, the KL Family Law team is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.
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