A DNA test is the only guaranteed way to show paternity

Fathers have every right to be part of their children's lives, just as mothers do. The fact that a woman gives birth should not overshadow the reality that the father also shares half of the child's DNA.

As a father, one of the most important things you can do is take a DNA test if there is any question of your relationship to your child. Legally, you want to be able to prove paternity to gain the rights of a biological father. While paternity is assumed if you are married to the mother, it is not assumed if you are not. Therefore, a paternity test is your best choice for proving that you have a right to care for and raise this child.

You can assume paternity voluntarily and accept the rights and responsibilities of being a father if you're present at the birth of your child. The hospital may have forms, or you may be able to get one from the local court to allow you to assume paternity following the birth of your child.

For fathers, having paternity established is the key to having a protected relationship with their children. When you're the biological parent, there is little the biological mother can do to prevent you from exercising your right to seek custody and visitation rights. However, remember that proving paternity does mean that you may have to pay child support if you are not married to the mother of your child. If you aren't married, a paternity test is usually a wise choice to verify that the child is yours and that you should be held financially responsible.

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