Becoming a parent is a stressful event even when a person has a strong relationship with their co-parent. Across California, men and women become new parents each day and jump into a world of unknowns. When paternity is in question, the difficult process of becoming a parent can be made even more challenging.
This post will not cover how paternity is established, but rather why paternity should be established. There are important legal repercussions for both mothers, fathers, and children when paternity is unsettled. This informational post may be reviewed generally, but all readers are reminded that no part of this post should be read as specific legal advice. Individuals who are facing paternity questions and challenges can take their concerns to their trusted family law and divorce attorneys for support.
What is paternity?
Paternity is the process of determining and establishing the father of a child. When a baby is born, there may be some uncertainty as to whom their father truly is. Paternity works through the legal and medical processes of establishing the identity of a child’s biological father.
Why paternity matters
Paternity is important for more than only emotional reasons. Paternity gives a father legal rights to visit with or have custody of their child. A man who is established to be a child’s father may work within the legal system to ensure that he has a relationship with his child. A child whose father is established through paternity may inherit from their father and receive child support from him.
Without a finding of paternity, a mother may struggle to compel a presumptive father to provide financial support for his presumed child. Similarly, without a paternity determination, a mother may have no way to compel a presumed father to play a role in their presumed child’s life. As readers can see, paternity is important to everyone in the parent-child relationship.
Paternity involves complex areas of family law. Regardless of which side of a paternity matter a parent is on, they can benefit from seeking the counsel of family law attorneys who understand paternity and paternity rights. No parent has to face paternity issues on their own. Help is available from trusted divorce and family law lawyers.