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How important is proof of paternity?

Proof of paternity is the establishment of the father of a child. This can be significant for many legal matters that concern the child and their parents. Just because a man's name is on a child's birth certificate does not mean that they have been legally established as the father of the child. Therefore, after a birth certificate has been signed, there can still be a quest to prove or establish paternity.

When people think of establishing paternity, a DNA test is the first thing that often comes to mind. However, this is not the only way in which paternity can be established. If a child is the result of a marriage, then it is already assumed that the child's father is the man married to the mother. Paternity can also be voluntarily assumed through the signing of a legitimation form, a similar acknowledgement drafted by a lawyer, another form or informal acknowledgment.

If the mother is in disagreement with another man on whether or not he is the father of the child, an involuntary paternity procedure may be necessary. This may take place because the mother believes that the father is avoiding asserting his paternity to avoid child support obligations. It may also occur because a father wants to be a part of the child's life and the mother refuses on paternity grounds. This can be settled through a DNA test or through a genetic blood test.

If you are having issues establishing paternity, it is advisable to seek legal guidance so that you can take the right steps forward.

Source: Findlaw, "Paternity testing," accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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