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Unmarried fathers should establish paternity

You and your girlfriend had a baby. You were excited to hold your child in your arms. The love you felt for this new little bundle is more than you thought was possible. You got swept up in the emotions and newness of being a father.

You can establish paternity in the following ways:

  1. Sign an affidavit of parentage which is typically done at the hospital if both parents are in agreement;
  2. File a Complaint for Establishment of Paternity and genetic testing will typically be ordered by a judge; or
  3. Marry the mother of the child.

Establishing paternity is important because it allows you rights to care for and support your child.

Some of the benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • Establish custody and visitation rights to your child
  • Establish legal custody (decision-making rights) to your child
  • Access to your child’s medical history
  • You can provide health insurance benefits to your child
  • Supply your child with government benefits such as social security

If paternity is established, you and the mother can work out child support and visitation agreements with the assistance of legal counsel. If you are unable to work on an agreement, you can file a custody action and have the court put an order in place. Child support can also be resolved through the court process.