foster and adoption - your questions answered

Times When You Should Get a Paternity Test

If you have been told that you're an expectant father, you may feel excitement, reluctance, concern, or even uncertainty. Any of these feelings are perfectly normal. However, you might also find yourself wondering if the baby that's on the way is actually yours. This is especially important to think about if you aren't married to the expectant mother. Here are a few of the most important reasons to consider establishing paternity as soon as possible, just in case.

Custody Issues

If you and the mom-to-be have a falling out at any point and are no longer together, you may have to establish paternity in the eyes of the court before you can file for any custody rights. The mother doesn't legally have to list you as the father on the birth certificate at the time of birth, so you may have to have your paternity established after the fact if you want to have shared custody of your child. A paternity lawyer can help you navigate this process if necessary.

Child Support Concerns

In the event that the child's mother takes you to court for child support, but you never signed the birth certificate as the father, it's in your best interest to confirm paternity before you go to court for the child support hearing, or to ask the court for an order of paternity testing before a child support ruling is issued. This gives you the chance to validate that the child is, in fact, your biological child before you are held to any financial obligations.

Hereditary Conditions

 Another situation where you should consider paternity testing, even if you're confident that you're the father, is if you've been diagnosed with a serious hereditary condition. In that situation, you'll want to confirm paternity and potentially ask about genetic testing to see if your child is at risk for the condition as well.

Preserving Survivor's Benefits

If there is any question about next of kin or inheritance, it's important to consider a paternity test to prove that direct relationship and preserve your child's right to survivorship benefits and their inheritance. Don't risk someone trying to contest your child's genetic connection during a time of grief if you can confirm the paternity test now.

Talk with a local paternity law attorney today for more guidance about the process and different ways that a paternity test can help you. Even if you're not uncertain about paternity, sometimes having the results documented is still helpful.

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