As a dad, there is nothing more important than protecting the relationship with your children. Whether you were never married to the mother of your child or you face divorce, you may find yourself in a position where you have to fight for your parental rights.
There are certain situations in which it is necessary for a father to secure his custody or visitation rights by establishing paternity. If you are in a dispute with the mother of your child or she is keeping you from seeing your children, this may be important. Establishing paternity can be a complex process, and you may benefit from experienced legal guidance as you navigate each step.
When does paternity matter?
Usually when a child is born, there is an assumption of who the biological father is. This is the case when the two parents are married or the parents sign specific legal documents naming the father. It may surprise you to learn that having your name on the birth certificate does not necessarily mean that you will avoid a paternity dispute.
Fathers may have to legally establish paternity in cases where they do not have regular access to their kids or they want regular visitation or custody rights. There is legal significance to establishing paternity for you and your children for the following reasons:
- Establishing paternity will give you legal grounds to seek custody or visitation rights.
- It will legally establish your requirement to financially support your child until he or she reaches the age of 18.
- It can help your child secure strong relationships with both parents.
- It gives you the right to dispute your child's adoption if the mother wants to give him or her up for adoption or wants a stepparent to adopt your kid.
- It establishes a way for your child to have regular financial support and allows him or her to receive certain benefits in case of your death.
These are just a few ways that establishing paternity can benefit you and your children. Paternity is about more than just visitation with your kids – it's about providing a way to give your kids as much support and stability as possible.
If you have additional concerns or want to move forward with this process, it may help to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney.