The Benefits Of Establishing Paternity
For many, paternity is a given. However, establishing it legally is another ball game. If you were not legally married at the time your child was born and did not establish paternity voluntarily at the hospital, you will have to establish paternity before both parents will have equal rights and privileges with respect to the child. You may think that you are supporting your child in the ways that it matters regardless of what a paper says, but the truth is that you will be seriously handicapped in your ability to act as a parent without the legal right to do so. For instance, if your child requires emergency medical care and you are not legally their parent, you do not have the right or ability to make medical decisions on their behalf, or even to visit them in the hospital without the legal parent’s permission. For this reason, it is best to get this taken care of as soon as possible, and a lawyer can help.
How to Establish Paternity
If you are married at the time of the child’s birth, paternity will be assumed and you do not have to take any further steps. You automatically have all the rights of a full and equal parent. If you are unmarried at the time the child is born but you are present for the birth and acknowledge paternity by signing the birth certificate at the hospital, this also allows you to automatically establish paternity. If you were not married at the time of the birth, but marry shortly after, you can declare paternity when applying for the marriage license. Additionally, there are legal mechanisms by which both parents can voluntarily agree to paternity without going to court. If none of these situations apply, you can establish paternity in court by filing an order with the court. The court will then likely require a paternity test, however, that may not be necessary if both parents voluntarily agree to the paternity in court.
Benefits of Paternity
There are benefits to establishing paternity for both parents. For instance, it is necessary to establish paternity before child custody and visitation rights can exist, as well as to be able to collect child support. This is also important for the child, as it entitles them to medical information that may be relevant to their own healthcare planning and treatment. Paternity also allows the child to be eligible for social security and military benefits of their biological parent, as well as inheritances. It also gives both parents the right to be full parents and make decisions on behalf of their child when it comes to school and medical care. Additionally, this makes it possible for the child to qualify for medical insurance, should either parent’s employer provide it.
Contact Greater Orlando Family Law
If you need assistance establishing paternity of your child, our Orlando paternity lawyers are ready to help. Contact Greater Orlando Family Law and schedule a consultation today to take the next steps.