Love looks different for different couples, but it does not always last. Sometimes an unmarried couple falls in love and has a baby, only to break up later without ever marrying. When this happens it is important for the parents to establish paternity, for the sake of the child who deserves the financial support of both parents and deserves to have a loving relationship with both parents.
Why is establishing paternity important?
There are two main reasons to establish paternity. First, if an unmarried mother wants to collect child support, the child’s father will have to be established as the child’s biological parent for legal purposes. Second, if an unmarried father wants to pursue custody or visitation with his child, he will need to be established as the child’s biological parent.
Establishing paternity benefits the child in other ways as well. In addition to having the financial support of both parents and the opportunity to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents, establishing paternity gives a child a sense of identity. It can make the child eligible for certain government programs and insurance. It also gives a child information on both parents’ medical history.
How to establish paternity
There are several was you can establish paternity in Arizona. First, if you and your ex agree he is the child’s father you could sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” at the hospital when the child is born. If you do not sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital, you and your ex can go to a DCSS office to sign a “Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity.” Finally, if there is a question about the child’s paternity, you can open a case with DCSS to obtain a court hearing to establish paternity. This often involves getting a DNA test to establish that the purported father is the child’s biological parent.
Establishing paternity is for the child’s benefit
Ultimately, it is in the child’s best interests that paternity be established if the child’s parents are unmarried. Establishing paternity allows the child to have the financial support of both parents as well as the opportunity to have a meaningful, loving relationship with both parents. It provides the child with a sense of identity and the opportunity to be eligible for certain government benefits. Unmarried parents will want to keep their child’s best interests in mind and establish paternity if necessary.