Reasons to Establish Paternity

Even though it can be a rather complicated process, establishing paternity can be done one of two ways: voluntarily signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form or by establishing paternity in a court proceeding. What’s more, establishing paternity benefits all family members, including both the parents and the child.

So what are some of the benefits of establishing paternity?

  • Custody and Visitation Rights – Establishing paternity allows the court to legally grant you custody and visitation rights. This is especially important if the parents are unmarried or if they are fighting a custody or visitation order. But once paternity is established, the father will be able to visit with his child and cultivate a relationship with them; many studies have shown the improved social and emotional benefits for a child who is close with his or her father.
  • Medical Reasons – One of the biggest challenges children with unestablished paternity face is learning about their medical history and any dangerous diseases or genetic conditions they might have inherited. However, establishing paternity solves this problem altogether, and will allow your child to learn your family’s medical history. This will be especially helpful in the event of a medical emergency, as a comprehensive family medical history will help doctors figure out how to best treat your child.
  • Government Benefits – Once paternity is established, a child will gain certain legal rights pertaining to their father’s inheritance, social security benefits, veterans benefits, pension, retirement, as well as rights to health and life insurance benefits.
  • Information Access – If you are the legal father of a child, then you will have access to any proceedings involving them, such as judicial proceedings, adoption proceedings, and custody hearings. Fathers will also be able to access their child’s school, religious, and medical records once they legally establish paternity.

Why Establishing Paternity Is Important

Beyond these logistical reasons, establishing paternity is important on a more relational level. For many, it’s a clear sign that a father is committed to being present in his child’s life and raising them well. As mentioned above, plenty of research demonstrates how a father’s role in his child’s life greatly affects their social and emotional development. Unsurprisingly, the more involved a father is in his child’s life, the greater the child will benefit.

Most fathers voluntarily establish paternity, fortunately. However, the reasons for those who do not are still unclear, although many researchers believe it is primarily because of emotional or financial reasons. 

If you want to establish paternity so that you can play a more active role in your child’s life, then you’ll need the help of an experienced family law attorney who can help you make sense of Washington State family law, especially with the law changing on paternity matters beginning January 1st, 2021! McMahon Law Group’s team of shrewd, compassionate family law attorneys can help guide you through every step of the process, all the while answering your questions, comments, and concerns. Call 360-893-2527 today to learn more about how we can help you.

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McMahon Law Group

Legal issues of any type can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, and certainly something you don’t want to face alone. Attorney Jacque McMahon and the McMahon Law Group will work closely with you to ensure you not only get the best legal representation possible, but that you are well-informed throughout the process. If you are facing legal issues, please contact us to discuss your situation and get the help you need.

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