The legal determination of paternity enables men to protect their right to share in the joy of raising their child. The benefits of testing can also extend to the child in many ways. Here is what all fathers should know about why they should do all they can to prove paternity, particularly when they aren’t married to the child’s mother.
Testing Not Always Needed
DNA testing gives conclusive evidence of a relationship, but it is not always necessary. The state of New Mexico assumes that the husband of a woman who gives birth is the father if the child is born within 300 days of their marriage. Unmarried parents can also notify the state with an Acknowledgment of Paternity form filed with the vital statistics bureau.
Men can file an Acknowledgment of Paternity form on their own, but the mother can dispute the claim. A lawsuit can allow the court to decide if the man filing the form is the father. When the man and the woman disagree about paternity, the court may order DNA testing.
Paternity Protects Parental Rights
A definitive paternity test protects the rights of both parents. Mothers do not have to share custody of the child with someone that is not the father. Men will know for certain if the child belongs to them. New Mexico law states that joint custody arrangements are best for children. A positive test result enables the father to know they will have some court-ordered time with their child.
Testing Expands Family Circles
Children gain not only a father after a paternity test but gain their father’s family too. Relationships with extended family members are also beneficial for children. The time spent together with relatives helps children create happy memories, and the support system of many loving people helps boost confidence.
The exposure to more people related to the child can help them learn family stories and discover the uniqueness of their heritage. The child that connects with extended family members often has exposure to new cultures and different skills. Familiarity with family members through life can also help children understand inherited health risks.
Paternity Addresses Safety Concerns
Fathers can use their paternity results to help them gain primary or sole custody if needed. The effort can keep children out of foster care if the mother becomes unable to care for the child due to illness or any other reason. Proof of paternity allows the child to stay in the home of a loving family member instead of adjusting to a stranger’s home.
Most single moms have access to health care for themselves and their children. However, about 13.4 percent of households run by single moms struggle to keep their families consistently insured. If the child does not have health care, the proof of paternity makes it possible for fathers to contribute to the well-being of their child by providing insurance for them.
Proof Prevents Future Problems
Parents may someday need to rely on their adult children for a medical directive or to take over their finances if their health fails. Paternity testing makes it easier for the child to inherit an estate after their parent passes. Establishing paternity guarantees eligibility for the child to receive social security benefits if something happens to the father before the child reaches adulthood.
Men often have questions about how a positive paternity test could change their lives. At the Law Offices of Lynda Latta LLC, we can discuss your legal rights and responsibilities as a father. Whether you want to pursue a paternity judgment for custody or are only interested in proof for your peace of mind, contact us today.