Establishing paternity is not only about child support

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Sometimes, single mothers prefer to keep their pregnancies secret. Regardless of the reason for such a decision, it can prevent a mother and her child from gaining certain legal benefits. If not for child support, why would a single mother in New Jersey want to establish paternity formally?

Establishing paternity puts the burden of a monthly child support payment on the father until the child reaches the age of majority. It also opens the avenues for the father to be a part of the child’s life. Furthermore, a child has legal rights to Social Security, veteran’s benefits or any other death benefits in the event of the biological father’s death. There might even be an inheritance for the child.

There are also medical reasons for establishing paternity. It will provide access to the medical history of the biological father. This information could be crucial if he has any genetic issues that could affect the child. Fortunately, in many cases, single fathers acknowledge paternity voluntarily, and they look forward to being present in the lives of their children even if they are not married to the mothers.

However, there are ways to establish paternity if the fathers do not acknowledge it. Every child has the right to know his or her father, and an experienced New Jersey family law attorney can provide invaluable advice. A lawyer can assess the circumstances and explain the steps to take to secure child support payments and other benefits to which the child is entitled. This will allow the mother to make informed decisions and pursue the legalities with the support and guidance of the attorney.

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