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Why could it be important for you to establish paternity?

New York readers know that fathers play a critical role in the lives of their children, yet establishing and maintaining this role can be difficult when there are disputes over paternity. If you were not married to the mother of your child at the time of birth, it may be necessary for you to seek to legally establish paternity in order to protect your rights as a father.

You may have a verbal or informal agreement with the mother of your children regarding visitation, support and parental rights, but in many cases, it is necessary to take legal steps to protect your interests as a father. If you need to seek custody rights, visitation or have concerns about your ability to be an active and loving father, you would be wise to seek an understanding of your legal options regarding paternity.

Why is paternity important?

Even if you know that you are the father of your children, it could be legally significant to establish paternity. This could be a necessary step for fathers whose names are not on their kids' birth certificates or in situations in which there is a dispute over who is the biological father of the child.

You may feel that it is not necessary to establish paternity because the arrangement that you currently have works. However, this step could be necessary for many reasons, and it could be significant in the following ways:

  • By establishing paternity, you could have a rightful claim to access to your kids, including visitation and possible custody.
  • Paternity can impact child support matters, which could have impacts on a child's financial security.
  • Establishing paternity could give your child inheritance rights or allow him or her to receive workers' compensation benefits in case you suffer fatal injuries in a work accident.

Establishing paternity can be as simple as filing out some forms, but in cases in which the mother disputes your paternity or there are other complications, it may be necessary to take legal action. It is possible that a DNA test may be necessary.

Your role as an active father

As a father, you have the right to a certain role in the life of your child. You have the right to fight for your place as a loving dad, and you may find it useful to seek legal guidance as you pursue your legal objectives. Fathers have rights, and you could benefit from a complete explanation of your entitlements and options.

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