When the parents of a child are not married at the beginning of the pregnancy or at the birth of the child, the father is legally without the rights and responsibilities of a parent. The father, mother must seek a declaration of paternity is necessary to legally establish a parent-child relationship with the father. Until paternity has been established, a father has no legally enforceable rights and the mother is the decision maker for the child. The formality of DNA testing is usually not necessary in these cases, but is an option if there is a dispute or uncertainty about the identity of the biological father.
Child support is directly affected by time sharing with a child, and may not be factored into calculations if the case that is limited to support issues. If you spend significant time with your child, it should be considered in the support calculation.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
By establishing paternity, you will give your child the rights and benefits enjoyed by children born to married parents:
- Legal proof of each parent’s identity.
- Information regarding family medical history (in case of inherited health problems).
- Medical or life insurance from either parent (if available).
- Financial support from both parents, including child support, Social Security, veterans benefits and military allowances (if applicable), and inheritance.