Why Should You Request A Paternity Test?
Aside from answering the question of parentage, there are some benefits of having a paternity test performed for your child. Depending on the legal proceedings you are facing or the unique makeup of your family, a paternity test can help you gain access to certain benefits and can help you in court. Here are just a few reasons you should request a paternity test.
It Establishs Paternity for Child Support
While some parents are ready, willing, and able to raise a child that is not a genetic match, others may be relieved to find out that paternity testing has absolved them of any legal requirements to pay child support. Paternity for child support can be established at any point between birth and a child's 18th birthday. Unless the child is physically or mentally disabled or is attending college, child support benefits are not necessarily required after a child turns 18. These rules can vary from state to state or case by case (some states require child support until age 21), so consult with a family attorney, like Leonard & Kershaw, for the exact rules that might govern your case. Conversely, paternity testing can also prevent a person who is not the father from seeking custody in a divorce or a breakup.
It Clarifies Insurance Obligations
Both parents are responsible for the health and welfare of a child, but the cost of health insurance, life insurance, and other types of coverage may be all your responsibility unless you can establish paternity for your child. Consider having a paternity test performed immediately after your child is born so that your child's father has definitive proof of his obligation.
It Provides Social Security Benefits
In the event that your child's father meets an untimely death, your child is eligible for Social Security survivor benefits. If you were never married to your child' father, you'll need to be able to establish paternity before your child can be approved for benefits. This is why legally establishing paternity is critical, even when both parents are getting along.
It Establishes Next-of-Kin Relationship
Aside from Social Security benefits, there are other reasons that your child needs paternity to be established. Being the legal next of kin can help your child if his or her father does not have a written last will and testament. Being next of kin also means that your child can sue on behalf of the family if his or her father dies as the result of negligence. Establishing paternity now ensures your child has access to the his or her legal rights.
Paternity testing has many legal implications. Before you have your child's paternity established, be sure to talk to a family law attorney. Once the testing is performed, there is no way for you or the courts to unlearn the information that the test reveals. If you are confident of what the test results will mean for your family, follow the advice of your lawyer and make the right moves to protect your child, your finances, and your future.