Establishing paternity can be important for numerous reasons. For one thing, it can simply protect the relationship between a parent and a child. There could also be financial considerations, especially if one person needs to pay child support.
How can you actually establish paternity in a legal sense? There are a few different tactics that can be used, which you should consider carefully if you need to make this biological determination plain.
When a child is born at the hospital
When a child is born, the parents will be asked if they are married. If they are, then paternity is assumed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this is accurate, which is why couples have to take other action if they are unsure, but this assumption will be made.
Naturally, there will be some unmarried parents who also have children in the hospital. They have the option to voluntarily declare that they are the parents, thus establishing their role. This is a very fast and simple way to confirm paternity without formal testing.
After the fact
In some cases, paternity may have to be established long after the child has been born. Parents who may be getting married after the birth of their child can do this when they get their marriage license. They also still have the option to voluntarily establish paternity even if they’re not married.
Finally, there are cases where a DNA test may need to be used. This is done when the parents can’t agree on who is the father or there is a question of paternity. A DNA test, which can be undertaken voluntarily or legally ordered by a judge or the state government, is almost 100% accurate. Genetic testing is the single best way to establish parental rights.
What steps do you need to take?
As you can see, the steps you need to take if you need to establish paternity will depend on where you are in this process. Whether or not you and the other parent agree will also play a big role, potentially requiring a court order. Be sure you are well aware of your legal rights as you move forward and seek legal guidance if necessary.