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The different options for establishing paternity

There are different methods of establishing paternity it is important for parents and families to be familiar with. Paternity has significant implications for children, parents and families including both emotional and financial importance that can also impact child custody and child support.

According to family law, paternity is assumed for married couples if a child is born while the parents are married, however, that is not true for unmarried couples. Determining paternity has an impact on child support, child custody, inheritances, health history and other important considerations. Paternity can be established in different ways following the birth of a child to unmarried parents.

One of the ways paternity can be established is through a legitimization form after the child is born, which carries the same rights as if the parents were married at the time of the child's birth. Parents can also agree to acknowledge paternity through a voluntary acknowledgment after the child is born or any time thereafter. The father's name can then be added to the birth certificate. If paternity is not presumed or voluntarily agreed to, a paternity lawsuit can be filed to determine paternity and have it legally established. A paternity lawsuit can be filed by either parent and will allow for DNA testing to be performed and paternity to be established.

Once paternity has been legally established, considerations including child support, child custody and visitation can be determined. Legally establishing paternity carries with it several important benefits for children, which is why parents should be familiar with the different options for establishing paternity and the legal tools and resources available to help them.

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