By David P. Badanes, Esq. and Jillian M. Enright, Esq.
There are many reasons to establish paternity. For unmarried parents, paternity is established in two ways: (i) by signing a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form; or (ii) it is established by a court proceeding.
Establishing paternity can be beneficial to the child, the father, and the mother. Legal paternity might have to be established before a court can order custody, visitation, and child support. Here are 6 reasons why it is important to establish paternity:
- Identity. It is important for the child to know they are part of a family. Similarly, it is important for the father to know that they are “legally” the father of the child. Paternity can help create relationships between the father’s side of the family and the child. Identity is more than having the father listed on the child’s birth certificate. In establishing paternity, it is important to form these extended relationships for both the child and the father’s identity.
- Father-Child Relationship. A father-child relationship is fundamental to a son or daughter’s childhood. Establishing paternity is the first step to achieving a healthy father-child relationship. Studies have shown that a father who actively participates in a child’s life can help to improve the emotional and social health of the child.
- Custody and Visitation. If the father and mother are not living together or they are contesting custody rights or visitation rights, then paternity may need to be legally established before a court can order custody or visitation to a father.
- Financial. Both parents, mother, and father, must provide financial support to their children. In order for a court to make a father pay child support, paternity must be established first. Establishing paternity not only affects child support, but it also affects other financial benefits from the father. These can include: social security benefits, life insurance, pension and retirement, and inheritance rights in the event that something will happen to the child’s father.
- Medical. It is also important to determine the paternity of your child for medical reasons. The child and the child’s doctors may need to know the medical history from both sides of the family for certain genetic traits and diseases that may affect the child. Additionally, once paternity is established a father may be able to add the child to his medical insurance policy.
- Access to Information. Legal fathers and mothers have the right to be notified about proceedings involving their child. These may include criminal proceedings, adoption proceedings, juvenile court proceedings, and custody hearings. Legal fathers and mothers also have the right to access information regarding school, medical, and religious records.
If you are concerned about paternity and need more information about paternity, call the Badanes Law Office. Contact our top-rated divorce attorneys today at 631-239-1702, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com.
You can visit our office in Northport, Suffolk County and in Garden City, Nassau County.
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