You have an informal agreement with the mother of your child on visitation, and everything is working out. There hasn’t been a need for testing so far, and you don’t see a need to change now. But establishing paternity might provide significant bonuses for you and your child.
Establishing the familial relation to your child could come with a slew of official advantages. You generally don’t have any rights to your child out of wedlock until you take action, so all the rights and benefits stay with the mother. This doesn’t have to remain the case, though, and successful genetic testing might put your lineage on the books.
Becoming recognized as the father of your child can have pluses for your family:
- Benefits: Your child will likely officially gain access to support that you might provide, like health insurance and military allowances. They could also get in line for things like veteran’s benefits and inheritances in the event of your passing.
- Parental rights: The courts can acknowledge you as the father of the child after a positive result. More than just being listed on the birth certificate, the court may award you enforceable visitation time and financial support if they deem it appropriate.
- Adoption: If you fail to register a claim of paternity, you may lose the right to object to your child being adopted. Even as the biological father, if you haven’t taken steps to show your paternal connection, the wishes of the mother and adoptive parents may take precedence.
Understanding what’s at stake when you haven’t established paternity could be essential. Know what you and your child have to gain, and you may see your way to going under the cotton swab.