When married couples have children, the state presumes the mothers’ husbands as the fathers of their children. The state makes no such assumption when unwed couples have children. Therefore, fathers must act to ensure and protect their relationships with their kids.
Unwed fathers may focus on involvement in their children’s lives, underestimating the importance of establishing paternity legally. However, taking steps to create legal father-child relationships offers benefits to children and fathers alike.
Benefits for the child
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children of unwed parents benefit from their fathers establishing paternity. Through this action, children gain the opportunity to forge relationships with both parents, giving them a greater sense of identity. Creating this legal father-child relationship also lets kids connect with their fathers’ families and to have full knowledge of their family medical histories.
Establishing paternity gives children certain legal rights as well. Through this action, children may gain the ability to inherit from their fathers and to receive medical, life insurance, Social Security and veterans benefits through them.
Benefits for the father
Establishing a legal father-child relationship may create basic social, emotional and financial ties between unwed fathers and their kids. According to the Office of the Texas Attorney General, establishing paternity gives fathers legal rights for their children. This includes the ability to legally care for their kids. For example, fathers may have to have legal paternity to take their children to doctor appointments or to enroll them in school.
A legal father-child relationship allows fathers the right to access their children’s medical and school records. Creating this legal relationship also gives fathers the right to request parenting time, custody or child support.