Why Is It So Important To Establish Paternity?
Establishing the paternity of a child can have benefits for them as well as both parents. It is well worth it to ensure that everyone has their rights recognized and the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with a parent or child. If you are confused about this process or have questions about how you can establish paternity, our Morris County, NJ child support attorneys are ready to help.
When Do I Establish Paternity?
For married couples, paternity is usually established when the child is born. The names of both parents are going to go on the birth certificate. An unmarried couple can also add the father’s name to the birth certificate at the hospital if he is there for the birth. If he is not present, a Certificate of Parentage can be filed with the county you live in at a later time.
If you are not sure that you are the father of a child, you should not add your name to the birth certificate. You may be able to get a low-cost DNA test through the state that can help determine parentage. Fathers who sign a Certificate of Parentage can also change their minds about acknowledging paternity within 60 days of signing. However, it is important to note that the mother also has to agree to invalidate that certificate.
Can I Sue to Establish Paternity?
If the father of your child does not want to admit paternity, you may have to go through the courts. A father’s obligation to their child is not invalidated simply because he left or broke up with the mother before the child was born. A court order can compel someone to take a DNA test and establish him as the biological parent of the child. This means that the mother can ask for child support.
What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?
Some fathers are worried about the legal ramifications of establishing paternity. Others believe that the paperwork is just not that important. Our lawyers always advise clients to establish paternity if they are the father though, and this is because the benefits far outweigh any complications or drawbacks. Establishing paternity protects your rights and helps your child. When you are legally considered the father of your child, it means that:
- You can have visitation rights
- Your child can access your benefits, like health insurance
- Your child can forge important bonds with you and your family members
- You can travel with your child
- The child’s last name can be changed to match yours, if you both desire it
- You will have access to important information about your child, like their school and medical records
Due to these benefits, and many more, we recommend taking the steps to establish yourself as the father of your child.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you have questions about paternity or you need help securing a child support arrangement, contact the experienced family lawyers at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. We can schedule a consultation and help you learn more about your legal rights and obligations.