One of the questions we hear frequently as Jacksonville family law attorneys
is whether it is absolutely necessary to establish
paternity of a child born to unwed parents. Some parents are hesitant to undergo
paternity testing out of fear: fear of changes to their relationship,
fear of the long-term consequences of knowing the truth, and more. However,
from a legal standpoint, establishing paternity provides a number of benefits.
Here are five reasons why it is necessary to establish paternity:
It establishes rights to benefits. A child may be entitled to benefits from both of their parents, including
life insurance benefits, inheritance rights, potential Social Security
or Veterans’ benefits, and more. Unless legal paternity has been
established, these benefits will likely be denied.
It establishes medical histories. Since genetics play a big role in a person’s health, knowing the
medical histories of both parents is an essential factor in providing
a child with comprehensive medical care. It could mean the difference
between life and death when it comes to the accurate diagnosis and treatment
of certain diseases and medical conditions.
It provides the father with
custody and visitation rights. Unless the father legally acknowledges paternity of a child, he won’t
have the right to have the child live with him or have any enforceable
It provides the father with access to information. Legal fathers have the right to be notified of any court hearings, adoption
proceedings, and custody hearings involving the child. They may also have
the right to access other important records regarding their child, including
medical and dental records, school records, etc.
It fosters a healthy relationship. Both parents have the right to have a healthy relationship with their
child, and the child deserves to have parents who will emotionally and
financially support them.
If you would like to take the first step towards establishing legal paternity
of your child, we encourage you to contact a Jacksonville family lawyer
at Owenby Law, P.A. We’d be happy to answer your questions during a
free initial case evaluation.