Establishing your legal paternity can help secure your rights

| May 7, 2021 | Child Custody |

Your child is important to you. As their father, it’s your right to spend time with them. You should be as much of a part of their life as their mother is — but, unlike their mother, you don’t have any automatic rights to your child when that child is born out of wedlock.

It can be difficult to get those custody rights established if you don’t take the time to establish paternity over your child. Until that’s done, your child’s mother is the sole arbitrator of how much time you get to spend with your child and how often — and that doesn’t leave you in a comfortable position. 

What are the benefits of establishing paternity over your child?

If you have a child but the mother won’t allow you to see them, your priority should be to seek a DNA test. DNA tests are considered 100% accurate for paternity testing, which is why they’re accepted as proof of a parent-child relationship in courts everywhere in this country. 

Once you’ve established legal paternity, this means:

  • You can request a visitation schedule with your child, or seek shared custody. Under certain circumstances, you may even have the right to seek full custody of your child.
  • You may gain the right to make important decisions about your child’s future, including what medical care they receive, what school they attend and more.
  • Your parents can request visitation rights as the child’s grandparents, which can help strengthen the bond between your child and their extended family members.
  • Your child gains inheritance rights, including the right to be your dependant for Social Security benefits, which could be important if something happens to you.
  • You can establish a formal child support payment agreement and make sure that your child’s needs are being met.

While establishing paternity is sometimes a sensitive issue, it’s important to take steps to protect your rights as a parent. If the child’s mother is uncooperative when it comes to DNA testing, you may be able to obtain court-ordered testing DNA testing. An attorney can show you how.