Do You Have Questions About Paternity?
Why do unmarried parents seek to establish legal paternity? Paternity provides something of value to all three sides:
The father benefits because he is acknowledged as legal father and has standing to pursue custody and other rights regarding the child.
The mother benefits because she now can pursue financial support for the child,
The child benefits most of all. He or she gets a father, inheritance rights, and vital health and genetic information. There may even be loving grandparents.
The paternity process can be as simple as the father signing an affidavit or it may involve a DNA test — a cotton swab brushed gently against the inner cheek — or it may be done at the order of the court.
Paternity Has Its Limits
Paternity does not give a father custody or visitation rights, but these rights are obtainable through a court order, once paternity has been established. Fathers who show a sincere interest in their child are treated with respect by the courts. In all these matters, the best interests of the child are a deciding factor.
Disagreements on custody, parenting time and financial support are not uncommon. When disputes arise, they can often be resolved by mediation or through simple negotiation. The family law attorneys at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson work with their clients to help resolve these concerns in a civil way:
- Fathers seeking custody or visitation rights
- Mothers withholding children from their fathers
- Mothers needing to press fathers for support
- Men who do not agree that they are the biological fathers in question
For more on parenting time, custody, shared parenting or visitation, see our page on Unmarried Parents And Child Custody.