Why paternity matters under the law

| Nov 17, 2020 | Family Law |

For most people, a child is a blessing in the life of their parents. Many couples look forward to the days when their children are born, and their families begin to grow. Through Mississippi and the entire Gulf Coast, parents learn the important skills of caring for their kids through the daily experience of being with them.

While the birth of a child is generally a celebrated event, it is sometimes a contentious event for parents when paternity is under scrutiny. Paternity refers to the genetic connection that a father has to their child. While maternity, the genetic connection a mother has to a child, is clear at the time of a child’s birth, paternity can be called into question if the mother is not married or in a relationship. This post will discuss the legal significance of paternity and steps fathers can take to prove their legitimate connections to their kids.

Rights attached to paternity determinations

One of the most significant rights that a father gains when he is proven through paternity to be a child’s father is custodial or visitation rights. Parents are entitled to spend time with their kids, and if a presumptive father is not included on a child’s birth certificate or married to the child’s mother, they may not be considered related to the youth. Proving paternity gives him proof of his right to be with his child.

Similarly, establishing paternity allows a child to inherit from their parent according to the laws of their jurisdiction. Inheritance based on intestacy is derived from familial connections, and without a familial connection a child may be prevented from receiving a rightful share of their father’s estate when he dies.

Ways to prove paternity of a child

For most children, paternity is not in question when they are born. However, it can become an issue after the fact if a mother fails to identify the father of her child on legal documents like the child’s birth certificate. To prove paternity, a presumptive father and child may have to submit genetic material for testing to see if they match at a cellular level.

It can be hard on a father to fight for paternity of the kids he knows are his. Men in this situation do not have to approach this problem alone. Family law attorneys can support them on their paths to proving paternity.