"Establishing paternity can help ensure the emotional, financial, and
medical well-being of the child."
- Karen Estry, Esq.
Besides financial support, there are many reasons to establish paternity for the sake of the child. A father's visitation rights with the child can be established, for example, and the child's medical history can be known, among other benefits.
There are several instances where a father or mother would need to establish paternity, that is, the identity of the biological father of a child. Such reasons include:
Child support - an unmarried mother may seek child support from the child's father.
Child contact - a father may wish to have contact with the child.
Right to records - a father may wish to access medical or school records of the child.
Birth record identification - a father may want his name on the child's birth record, or for the child to use his last name.
By establishing paternity, a father can be granted timesharing rights with the child, and have a say in the medical and legal decisions affecting the child.
Establishing paternity can also ensure that certain rights and benefits from the father will be passed on to the child, such as:
Knowing the paternity of a child is also important for medical reasons.
Doctors can better diagnose and treat a child if the medical history of the both parents is known. Also, certain health conditions may require tissue transplants or blood transfusions from matching donors such as family members, something made difficult or impossible when the child's paternity isn't known.
A mother can establish paternity for her child with a genetic, or DNA, test. For more information about paternity, visit the State of Florida website.