There are several ways to establish paternity. If you are not married to the other parent of your child, you may consider exploring your options in this regard. Establishing paternity can have advantages for both parents, but the most important b enefits are for the child.
Methods of determining paternity
In the State of Tennessee, there are three ways to legally determine paternity. If the parents are married at the time of birth, it is presumed that the husband is the father. This legal presumption also applies when the child was born 300 days or less after a judgment of divorce. If the parents are not married, the father has the option to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity when the child is born. Finally, if the parents are unsure of paternity, DNA testing can provide conclusive evidence either way. A court can issue a ruling of paternity based on DNA results.
Involvement with the child
Getting a determination of paternity can be the right option for a father who wants to stay in contact with his child. Having proof of paternity can legally entitle him to visitation as well as input into decisions that affect the child’s life.
On the other side, a mother who is faced with a father who denies paternity and refuses to pay child support can get a determination of paternity. A conclusive finding of paternity will obligate the father to pay court-ordered child support.
Not least to consider, the child also benefits from the certainty afforded by an establishment of paternity. The psychological impact of not knowing one’s father can inflict emotional damage and affect normal development. In the case of a father who wishes to remain involved, the child will benefit from his presence in his or her life.
In addition to psychological benefits, a child with proof of paternity may be better off financially. Even when there is no dispute among the parents, a child with an unwed father who did not sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity can lose out on benefits such as life insurance proceeds, social security and veteran’s benefits. If the father dies intestate or leaves his assets to unspecified “children” in his will, a child with no proof of paternity may be unable to inherit.
Another key issue is family medical history, which is not complete without the father’s records. Establishing paternity can be of great help to health care, especially if the child has any type of medical condition.
Establishing paternity can be a smart move that is in your child’s best interests. To find out more about your options, consult an experienced family law attorney in your area.