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Why is establishing paternity important?

Family law matters, as it relates to child custody, tends to favor mothers. If you are a woman, this is a good thing. If you are a father who is hoping to secure parental rights, then this may pose as a barrier. For these men, establishing paternity can be a crucial first step. Yet, mothers, too, can find establishing paternity just as important.

Put simply, establishing paternity is merely the process of naming a legal father. Countless daytime television talk shows utilize DNA testing to determine a child's father, but the truth of the matter is that it doesn't have to be that difficult. A father may be presumed to be a legal father if he signs a birth certificate or a paternity affidavit, and he may be assumed to be a child's father if he accepts a child into his home and holds the child out as his own.

For women, establishing paternity is important on two fronts. First, it allows a mother to seek child support from the legal father. Second, it allows a child to know who his or her father is, thereby creating a starting point for what may be a desired relationship. Men, on the other hand, can secure visitation rights and even seek child custody and child support once they have established paternity.

Although establishing paternity may seem like a relatively straightforward endeavor, it can actually be complicated, especially in instances where a married woman has a child to a man who is not her husband. When paternity is contested, the legal battle can become heated. Those who want to ensure that they protect their legal rights should consider contacting a competent family law attorney. This will not only help the parents involved but also protect the rights and interests of the children as well.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

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