If you have a child when you are unmarried, you are not automatically granted paternity. You must request paternity of the child and undergo a DNA test to prove that you are the father. Some might wonder why this is important or what the benefits of paternity are. Here are the main reasons fathers should establish paternity of their children.
You can have an active role in your child's life and upbringing.
By establishing paternity, you are granted rights to make decisions about the child's upbringing, such as medical and educational decisions. This gives you a more active role in your child's life, which is also incredibly beneficial for the child. It is now a widely-accepted fact that having support and connection from both parents is very important for children's well-beings. Having the ability to be a part of your child's upbringing will enrich both your and your child's life.
Your child gains legal rights and benefits.
Establishing paternity doesn't just give you rights as the father. It also gives your child rights to many legal benefits. Your child will have access to medical and life insurance benefits, social security, disability benefits, a right to inheritance, and possibly veterans' benefits if applicable. This can greatly improve the quality of their upbringing and help you care for them.
Your medical history can be used for the child's care.
Having your medical records linked to your child is incredibly important. The more doctors know about both parents' medical backgrounds, the better they can care for a child when needed.
You have visitation rights.
Paternity creates a legal relationship between the father and the child. This means that you have the right to spend time with your child, even if you separate from your partner. This allows you to remain a part of your child's life, spending time and bonding with them. Without establishing paternity, the mother would not have to let you spend time with the child or make decisions about their life.
How do I establish paternity?
In Colorado, both the mother and father may petition for the paternity of a child. If you are out of the state or unable to petition for any reason, your partner can do so in your place. However, issues of paternity and the process itself can get stressful and complicated. A skilled family law attorney can represent you, review your situation, and help your process go as smoothly as possible.