You love your kids and are a devoted dad. However, if you had your babies out of wedlock, did you know you may need to take a few extra steps to have a legal claim on your offspring?
You need to be sure that the state recognizes you as the legal father to protect your rights. There are a few ways to complete this process.
Fill out a form at birth
When the baby is born, filling out a paternity acknowledgment form is usually enough to solidify your status as the father. The hospital can provide the document while you are filling out the litany of other required paperwork.
Fill out a form later
If you could not fill it out at the hospital, you can still complete the paperwork until the youngster turns 18. Your local Division of Child Support office or county health department can provide the necessary information, though you will likely need to pay a fee.
Get a DNA test
If the child’s paternity is a source of contention, a DNA test may be necessary. If the mother does not want to take this route, you may need to push for a civil hearing so a judge can order genetic testing.
Suppose you had a baby together before your wedding. In that case, a marriage certificate dated after the birth could allow you to add your name to your kid’s birth certificate after the fact.
Establishing parentage locks in your rights as a legal father. It also benefits your child by giving them rights to inheritance, medical information and more.