Going through any legal process can feel like a burden. It often requires various phone calls, meetings, and lots of paperwork. It’s easy to procrastinate, especially when life is currently going well. This is often the case with men establishing paternity. This is the process where someone gains their full, legal fatherhood.
Men can have an amicable relationship with their child’s mother. There are no immediate concerns to address, so fathers get sidetracked, vowing to go through the process someday.
If you have a child, but you are not their legal father, here are some reasons you should establish your legal parenthood right away.
You Cannot Predict the Future
No matter how good life is today, you have no way of knowing what will happen tomorrow. Let’s say you are married to your child’s mother, and that child has no other legal parents. You may, for all intents and purposes, be the child’s father. They call you “dad,” and the mother considers you an equal parent in the home.
This scenario sounds safe and secure, but realistically, happy families fall apart and end in divorce all the time. If this happens to you, you could be legally unprotected. An angry, vindictive former spouse could remove your access to the person you’ve always considered your child.
You should take legal steps today to secure your future.
Paternity Makes You a Permanent, Legal Father
Without establishing paternity, you can have only a stepparent’s rights. Even those can be removed by a legal parent. Establishing paternity ensures that, no matter what, you will always be the child’s father. If you care enough to remain in and benefit the child’s life, these rights cannot be removed.
Being a permanent father also comes with many other rights and benefits.
The Right to Custody and Visitation
States generally don’t want to separate kids from their parents, especially parents who want to be in a child’s life. If you establish paternity, you have the right to ask for visitation and joint custody. Chances are, the court will see your willingness to do what’s best for your kids and grant this access.
Once a parenting plan is in place, the child’s mother cannot violate it. The plan even protects scheduled phone calls and video chats.
The Right to Share Benefits with Your Kids
As a legal parent, you can share healthcare benefits with your kids. There are many ways you can help. You can include them on life insurance and more. You can share certain government or military benefits as well.
The Right to Pay Child Support
Child support should not be viewed as a burden. When properly ordered, it shouldn’t harm your finances, and it allows you to participate in your child’s wellbeing. Once the order is finalized, it cannot be blocked by the mother.
Paternity Can Be Good for Your Relationship
For many people, a verified legal status is very important. It makes things feel “real” and “permanent.” Establishing paternity may not have a direct impact on your interactions with your kids, but it can create an important emotional bond. For many fathers and their children, paternity lets them know that their relationship is verified by society, and no one can take that away.
For help with establishing paternity, contact our office for a free consultation. You can call us at (931) 361-4477 or contact us online.