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On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in paternity on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

These days, many Kentucky couples decide that marriage might not be right for them. Making that choice might come with numerous advantages, but when it comes to children, it puts both parents at a disadvantage. Eventually, the issue of paternity will need to be addressed in order to protect the parents and the child. It is not enough to simply put a name on the birth certificate.

Even though you may know that you are the biological father of your child, the law does not recognize that automatically as it does with married couples. Therefore, you technically have no parental rights. That means that if you and your partner go your separate ways, you do not have the right to custody or visitation. Even if you stay together, without being legally recognized as the father of your child, you might not be able to participate in even the most ordinary parental tasks such as obtaining medical information or school records.

For mothers, if you and your partner split up, you cannot automatically obtain child support from the biological father of your child. The courts want to be sure that the right man is held financially responsible. Before the issue of child support can be appropriately addressed, paternity needs to be established.

If done at the right time, establishing paternity could be as simple as filling out and filing the appropriate affidavits. However, if you wait too long, or are unaware that you need to legally establish paternity here in Kentucky, the process could become more complex. Either parent could deny that a man is the biological father. As a father, you deserve to be legally recognized as such, and if you are the mother, having legal recognition of the father of your child is essential if you need child support.

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