If you have a child with someone else and you are not married, it is important to establish paternity. You might be wondering why the legal details matter, especially if both you and the other parent know and understand who the father is. Paternity is actually a very important determination and one that has long-lasting effects for everyone involved in the situation.
- You and the other parent might be in agreement right now about everything, but something could happen and you could break up or no longer trust each other. If that happens, both of your rights will be up in the air. For the father, there can be no visitation or custody unless and until paternity is determined. For the mother, a custody order also requires established paternity. Neither party can collect child support unless paternity is first determined.
- Paternity matters to your child. Being officially claimed by the father can mean a lot to a child. Having a birth certificate with both parents’ names on it is proof that Mom and Dad were there and cared. If paternity is never made official, a child can become a teenager who wonders if Dad is not really committed to the situation. An emotional connection can be bolstered by a legal connection.
- Establishing paternity gives your child important rights. Unless the father is legally determined, your child cannot inherit from the father. Your child also cannot receive Social Security or veteran’s benefits through the father. Should something happen to the father, it is very difficult to establish paternity after a father has passed away.
DeTorres & DeGeorge handles paternity cases in New Jersey and is ready to help you with yours.