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Paternity is important to establish because of the legal and emotional impacts I carries. Legally establishing paternity can impact child support, child custody, health care, inheritance, adoption and other concerns parents and children may have which is why parents should understand how paternity is established.

The paternity process refers to the legal determination of a child’s legal father. Paternity may be established if the child’s parents are married at the time of the child’s birth or if the putative father voluntarily acknowledges paternity of the child and holds the child out to be their own. Either parent can also bring a paternity action to establish legal paternity of the child. Once a paternity action has been filed, the family law court may order DNA testing to determine paternity of the child.

Once paternity has been legally established, other important issues including child support and child custody can be determined. In addition, there are emotional benefits for children and families once paternity has been established. It allows the child access to medical history of the father and may allow them to inherit from their father. It can also provide emotional support and certainty for the child.

Because of the importance of paternity, and legally determining paternity, the family law process provides important resources to help parents establish the paternity of their child. It then provides tools to help them navigate other family law concerns impacted by the establishment of paternity. Paternity issues have implications financially and personally for children, parents and families so it is helpful to know how legal options can help.