What are the benefits of formally establishing paternity?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Paternity |

Some men automatically benefit from presumed paternity after the birth of the child. Those married to a pregnant woman generally benefit from a presumption of paternity. Hospitals in both Missouri and Illinois can include their name on the birth certificate of the child without them taking any additional steps.

Unmarried fathers often have more requirements placed upon them if they want the state to recognize their relationship with a child. They typically need to formally establish paternity. This process requires either filling out paperwork with the mother of the child or undergoing genetic tests.

Some men know that they have a child but do not pursue paternity, possibly because they view it as unnecessary or complicated. Those who understand the benefits that come from formally establishing paternity may feel more motivated to add their name to a child’s birth certificate as soon as possible. What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

For the father

A man who establishes paternity has all of the same rights as other parents. They can go to court to request shared custody. A man who has added his name to the birth certificate of his child can ask for parenting time and may influence important decisions about the child’s upbringing. Additionally, that move can potentially strengthen his relationship with the child as they grow older, as it makes it clear how important the child was to the father.

For the child

A child whose father has established paternity has more rights than a child of unknown parentage. For example, they may qualify for inheritance rights, Social Security benefits after a father’s death or insurance coverage that they could not receive before. Additionally, they may have a better understanding of their cultural and medical family histories, both of which can be very important to people. Finally, a child whose father establishes paternity may have a stronger sense of self and family because they know where they come from and how important they are to their parents.

For the mother

A father establishing paternity is even beneficial for the mother, as she can share custody with the father. That offers her a chance for respite which is hard to come by for many unmarried mothers. Occasionally, a father who has established paternity may also need to make financial contributions to the family, ranging from paying child support to providing health insurance, which can be beneficial for the mother of an underage child.

Understanding the positive potential impacts of establishing paternity might motivate more men to take an active role in the lives of their children.