Paternity refers to the identification of the legal father of a child. If a child is born to a married mom and dad, the hospital writes the father’s name on the birth certificate to automatically establish paternity.
However, if the parents are not in a marriage, or if the father is unknown, at the time of birth, there is no established paternity. Establishing who the legal father is benefiting the child as well as the father and mother.
How to establish paternity
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, there are numerous ways to establish paternity. The easiest way is for unmarried parents to acknowledge the father at the birth, so he can be on the birth certificate. Unmarried parents can also voluntarily acknowledge this information any time before the child turns 18. If unmarried parents eventually marry, the establishment of paternity happens when the couple applies for the marriage license.
The establishment of paternity can also occur via a court order requested by either the mother or the alleged father. This uses genetic testing to determine the biological father.
Benefits to each parent
All involved parties can benefit from determining who the legal father is. According to Florida Health, one of the benefits to the father is he can now get to know his child if he had not been in his or her life prior to the paternity test. He can also request a new child custody order.
One benefit to the mother is she is no longer the sole provider for the child. She has the opportunity to share custody, which means she has some time to herself.
Establishing paternity also means that either parent can request child support from the other.
Benefits to the child
By knowing who the biological father is, the child benefits from having the opportunity to build a relationship with his or her father as well as his family. There is also access to the father’s medical history and benefits such as health insurance, inheritances, life insurance, Social Security and military benefits, if applicable.