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The importance of establishing paternity

One of the most important parts of a divorce case for parents is often child custody. Most parents want to be able to remain in their children's lives and spend time with them, even after a marriage has ended. However, fathers who do not legally have paternity of their children may not be able to win custody or visitation rights in a divorce case.

Here is how to establish paternity and why it is so important for fathers to do.

Paternity of a child is not assumed unless the man is married. If a married couple has a child, the husband is automatically given paternity. However, unmarried men or men who have a child before they are married must legally establish paternity.

To establish paternity, either parent must file a Complaint to Establish Paternity in the county where the child and at least one parent live. Paternity can be established in Pennsylvania up until the child turns 18 years old.

The paternity process can either be voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary paternity means that both parents agree that the man is the father and consent to signing the paperwork to grant paternity. Involuntary paternity occurs when either parent is in disagreement, in which case a series of genetic tests may be performed to prove whether the man is the child's father.

Why is establishing paternity important?

Paternity is important for a few reasons, namely the benefits it provides the child and the rights to spend time with the child. Once the father has established paternity, a child has access to legal and financial benefits, such as insurance or the ability to receive workers' comp benefits if the father is injured at work. It also gives the child access to medical information from the father's side of the family.

Paternity allows you, as the father, to have a more active role in your child's life. Fathers who have paternity over their child have legal custody rights and the rights to physical custody or visitation time. This allows you to spend time with your child and be an active father in his or her life.

During a divorce, a father does not have legal rights to visit or live with his child if he doesn't have paternity of the child. A divorce can make it difficult or sometimes impossible for a father to see his child or help raise his child if he has not established paternity. Establishing paternity keeps you and your kid together, and it greatly benefits both people legally and emotionally.

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-935-0820
Fax: 724-779-6299
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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.