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A win-win situation: How establishing paternity benefits both parents

In recent years, more people have chosen not to marry. Instead, many couples decide to live together and have a family outside marriage. With cost-efficiency and convenience as common benefits, cohabitation is a rising trend among partners.

Nevertheless, unmarried couples experience difficulty when they have to deal with child custody, visitation and support since different rules apply if a child is born out of wedlock. Fortunately, establishing paternity can solve those challenges.

A way for a father to exercise their rights

Fathers of children born outside of marriage cannot exercise paternity rights, which include petitioning for custody or visitation orders. Without a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or a court order establishing the same, the child’s mother continues to have custody.

By successfully establishing their paternity through the two mentioned methods, fathers of children born outside of marriage can request custody or visitation, and courts can award them sole or joint custody or visitation rights, whichever they deem appropriate, considering the child’s best interests.

A way for a mother to demand child support

Without establishing paternity, fathers of children born out of wedlock do not have the responsibility to pay for child support. Consequently, mothers cannot demand payments to support their children.

By establishing the father’s parentage, a mother can ask for financial support from him to meet their child’s needs. Moreover, with a court order or judgment establishing paternity, fathers can be held liable if they willfully neglect or refuse to provide support for their children, further protecting the mothers’ right to request child support.

Navigating a complex maze

Reasonably, many parents get lost in the legal terms and process of establishing parentage. Whether you are a father seeking to gain custody or parenting time with your child or a mother worrying about child support, knowing your rights and available options is the first step in the process.