On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in paternity on Friday, October 6, 2017.
You have a child with your girlfriend. You know the baby is yours and you are ready to take on the responsibility of being a father. Unexpectedly, your significant other leaves you and takes the child with her. According to the laws of Kentucky, without establishing paternity you may not have any rights to your own child.
The paternity issue is a big one. Fathers never seem to realize how few rights they have until they lose their children and the mothers are holding all the cards. This predicament is why establishing paternity as soon as possible is so important. What are the benefits of paternity establishment and how do you accomplish it?
Establishing paternity offers quite a few benefits for Mom, Dad and child. First, for mothers, after parentage is determined it is possible to seek child support. If awarded, this would force you as the father to provide some financial assistance to meet the needs of the child.
For fathers, establishing paternity enforces their rights to their children. It will also allow you to seek physical custody or visitation.
Finally, for children, it allows them to know their fathers on some level. Some will get to spend time with their dads thanks to custody or visitation orders, others will simply gain access to important information that they may need as they grow — such as family medical history — and all will hopefully receive the financial support that they need.
Different ways to establish paternity
There are two basic ways to establish paternity in Kentucky. The first is to sign an acknowledgement of parentage. This is something to which both parents must agree and complete voluntarily.
The second way is through DNA testing. DNA testing is pretty straightforward. An approved lab technician or other medical provider will collect cell and blood samples from the dad and baby in order to compare their DNA. This can be done before or after a child is born. However, testing while a baby is still in utero carries some risks — one being the potential for miscarriage.
Don’t miss out
Yes, establishing paternity matters. No father should have to miss out on time with his kids over a question of parentage. The sooner you legally establish paternity, the sooner you can fight to gain access to your child.