Non-traditional families, where couples aren’t necessarily legally married, are far from abnormal these days. While there’s nothing wrong with couples deciding not to marry, a child can sometimes complicate the picture.
But, as long as everything is going okay between you and your child’s mother, is there any reason to establish legal paternity over your newborn? Here’s what you need to consider.
Paternity gives you rights you otherwise lack
The spouses of women who give birth are generally presumed to be a newborn’s other parent — and that presumption automatically confers custody and visitation rights, among other things. It also automatically obligates you to all of the responsibilities of being a parent and providing for that child’s support.
If you and the mother are not married, however, paternity has to be established before you can legally assert those rights. That may not be a problem today, but it could easily become a problem — especially if you and the mother don’t live together. Without legal paternity, your relationship with your child could be very fragile — and easily broken.
Paternity gives your child important rights
A lack of formal paternity can also affect your child negatively. Should anything unfortunate happen, eliminated is your child’s right to inherit from you and to collect important benefits, like Social Security survivor’s benefits for dependent children. If your paternity is in question and becomes difficult to prove, your child could suffer.
Plus, formal paternity makes it possible for the court to issue a support order. While parental support is a child’s right, having the support tracked through the system eliminates any doubt that you are a dutiful and proper parent — should the question ever arise.
If you’re concerned about your newborn’s future, find out more about how you can quickly establish legal paternity.