What is the significance of choosing to establish paternity?

When you are debating whether or not to legally state you are the father of a child, you may wonder what the effects of this action are. 

From legal rights to personal responsibilities, paternity can change your life in various ways. 

Voluntary or involuntary

According to FindLaw, you could either voluntarily apply for paternity or another party may involuntarily test you for it. Through a request for blood or DNA testing, the mother of the child or the court can find out if you are the child’s biological father. 

Merely having your name on the child’s birth certificate does not mean anything in regards to paternity, since the mother can write down any name she wants or assumes is the father after she gives birth. 

Marriage

The significance of the method of paternity may influence how you decide what next step to take, especially if you plan to marry the mother. Signing a legitimacy form soon after the birth makes you the child’s legal father. If you wish to stay together as a family, assuming paternity can be beneficial for both you and your spouse. 

Life factors

Officially establishing your paternity can help connect you to the mother and your child. Custodial rights and child support also may be necessary in some circumstances. If routine child support is not possible, in some cases you may pay one lump sum of money instead of regular payments. 

With paternity, your child can receive money from death benefits if you happen to pass away, and he or she can inherit property from you. You can also access private information, such as medical history, once you assume this responsibility.