Being a father is perhaps the most important role you will ever have. Fathers play an important part in a child’s life, beyond finances. The love and emotional support that fathers provide can build the foundation for a happy and healthy life, for the child but also for the dad.
If you have a child but are not married to the child’s mother, you may not be legally acknowledged as the child’s father. This can leave you at a disadvantage, making it harder to be a part of your child’s life.
Why is it important to be legally recognized as a child’s father?
Legal paternity extends beyond the father’s name on a birth certificate. It triggers a slew of rights and protections, including inheritance, visitation and custody rights.
How can you establish paternity in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you can establish legal paternity in the following ways:
- Both mother and father agree and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
- DNA or genetic testing proves biological paternity
- The parents of a child born out of wedlock marry each other
- The father accepts the child to be his, and either receives the child into his home or provides support to the child throughout their lifetime
- Clear and convincing evidence that the man is the father, including a prior court determination of paternity
Pennsylvania’s paternity laws play an important role in helping to establish the identity of a child’s father. Taking advantage of them to establish your rights can have a positive outcome for both you and your child.