What Are the Benefits of Establishing Parentage for an Unmarried Parent?
Parentage refers to the legal relationship between a child and a parent. Typically, a mother’s parentage is easily established because she gives birth to the child. However, establishing parentage, or paternity as it was previously called, can be much harder for fathers.
Establishing parentage can help both the parent and the child in many ways. The legal recognition of a parent-child relationship provides a host of financial, emotional, and logistical benefits to both parties. If you are an unmarried parent, establishing parentage can provide financial stability, legal protection, and emotional security for your child.
Establishing Parentage is the First Step in Getting Child Support
When a parent is legally recognized, they can be required to make child support payments. This financial assistance helps ensure that the needs of the child are met. If a woman has a child and paternity is not established, she cannot ask the court for a child support order until the father's paternity is legally recognized. In some cases, this may necessitate DNA paternity testing. In other cases, establishing paternity is as simple as signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the baby is born.
Establishing Parentage Secures Certain Legal Rights and Protections
Legally recognizing a parent-child relationship not only provides financial security, but also legal protection. Parents who have established parentage can take advantage of certain legal rights and protections. As the legally recognized parent, a mother or father can petition the court for "parental responsibilities" or the right to make significant decisions about their child's upbringing. This may include decisions about medical treatments, school or sports team programs, and religious or cultural affiliations. The parent can also request "parenting time" or visitation with the child.
Establishing Parentage Can Lead to Deeper and Lasting Emotional Bonds
In addition to the financial and legal benefits, establishing parentage can lead to stronger emotional bonds between parents and their children. For example, when a man is legally recognized as a father, he is more likely to be involved in his child's life in a meaningful way. This can help the child to feel secure and connected, knowing that their parent is an active part of their life.
The Child is Eligible for Financial Benefits Through the Parent
Establishing parentage can also provide a child with access to important information about their heritage. This includes knowledge of medical history, cultural background, and family lineages. Acknowledging parentage opens up the possibility for the child to gain access to inheritance rights, medical insurance, and other benefits from their biological parent.
Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney
At Shaw Sanders, P.C., our St. Charles parentage lawyers understand that establishing the legal relationship between a parent and a child is not always easy. Disputes and uncertainty about parentage can be complex on a personal level and from a legal perspective. If you are a mother or father with a parentage-related issue, contact our office at 630-584-5550. Set up a free consultation today.