Establishing paternity is an important step in certain family law matters. Many Louisianans may know what the phrase is referring to (establishing who is the biological father of a child), but some may not be clear on why it is legally significant. We hope this post will help clarify why this critical issue should be addressed, regardless of which side of a family law dispute one falls on.
For women, establishing paternity can be critical for financial support. Once paternity is established, a mother can seek child support from the father. If he fails to pay, then legal action may be taken to compel payment. This is important for mothers, as raising a child on one’s own, with one salary, can be difficult and unfair when there is another parent who should share in the financial responsibility.
For men, establishing paternity can give rise to a whole host of legal rights and obligations. Legal and biological fathers are able to seek visitation with and custody of their children. In the event that a child’s mother seeks to put the child up for adoption, a man with established paternity can step in and seek to stop the process if he wishes.
Establishing paternity can further a child’s best interests financially, emotionally, and physically. With that being said, there are many times when paternity may be challenged or difficult to establish. When this issue rears its head, it might be wise to seek legal assistance to ensure one’s legal rights are as fully protected as possible.
Source: FindLaw, “Legal Significance of Paternity,” accessed on July 8, 2016