When a child is born to a married mother, her husband is legally the child’s father. This is true whether he is the child’s biological father or not. If the child’s mother was not married when he or she was born, the child does not have a legal father unless his or her parents establish his or her paternity. Without establishing paternity, the child’s father has no legal rights to the child.
Why Establish your Paternity?
Establishing yourself as your child’s legal father benefits you and your child in various ways. These are:
Your child has right to inherit your assets after your death;
You have the right to parenting time with your child;
You have the right to seek child support to help cover the costs of raising your child;
You have the right to make important decisions on your child’s behalf, such as where he or she will attend school;
Your child’s other parent cannot place him or her for adoption without your consent; and
You can claim your child as a dependent on your taxes, insure him or her through your health insurance, and if you receive disability or veteran benefits, your child can receive benefits as your dependent.
Parental Rights Require More than Shared DNA
There are a few ways to establish a child’s paternity. When the child’s paternity is contested, either parent may file a paternity claim to have the child’s parentage determined by the court.
When a parent files a paternity suit, the court orders DNA testing to determine the child’s biological parentage. Even if the man is found to not be the child’s biological father, he may still be deemed to be the child’s legal father.
A paternity test showing that you are your child’s biological father does not automatically grant you parental rights. To demonstrate that having a relationship with you would be in your child’s best interest, you must provide evidence that proves this. This evidence can include:
Testimonies from loved ones and other adults in your child’s life, such as his or her teacher, attesting to your relationship with your child;
Commentary from a child psychologist discussing your role in your child’s life;
Documentation showing the relationship you have already established with your child, such as residing at the same residence for the period of time you were in a relationship with your child’s mother; and
Documentation showing the financial commitment you have made to support your child.
The evidence you provide can show the closeness of your relationship with your child, your involvement in his or her day-to-day life, and how having a relationship with you gives your child access to the love and support of your extended family.
Draper Law Office Supports and Represents Parents and Families
If you need to legally establish your paternity, work with an experienced family lawyer who can support you through the legal process by acting as your advocate. Contact our team at Draper Law Office online or by calling (866)767-4711 today to schedule your initial consultation with us.