Especially if they have a good relationship with the mothers of their children, unmarried fathers may not see the purpose in establishing paternity. However, without taking this legal step, they have no rights toward their children.
Establishing paternity may benefit the children of unwed parents, as well as unmarried fathers.
Gives children access to the paternal family
According to the Attorney General of Texas, creating a legal parent-child relationship through paternity gives children the chance to know their fathers’ sides of their families. This may help them have a sense of their identities as they grow, as well as establish connections with extended family members.
Gives children access to paternal benefits
When a legal parent-child relationship exists between unwed fathers and their children, it grants children access to certain benefits. For example, once a father establishes paternity, his child may receive medical benefits through his policy or obtain Social Security family benefits. Establishing paternity also allows children to inherit from their fathers’ estates in the event of their fathers’ passing.
Gives fathers the right to care for their children
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, establishing paternity allows fathers the legal right to care for their children in the event their mothers become incapacitated or otherwise cannot look after their kids. Taking this step to create a legal parent-child relationship also grants fathers the right to petition the court for custody of or visitation with their children.
While unwed fathers may not automatically receive parental rights for their children, paths exist for them to legally claim their children as their own.