You aren’t automatically perceived as the father of a child when you have one with a woman who isn’t your wife in Kentucky. Instead, you have to take steps to establish paternity.
It’s possible to have your name added to the birth certificate if you and the child’s mother fill out the necessary paperwork to effectuate this. You can ask the family courts to order genetic testing to prove that you are the father if the mom doesn’t voluntarily agree to add you to the birth certificate.
Establishing paternity can take months in some cases and can cause friction between you and the child’s mother if she is not willing to cooperate. It may still be worth it to you to fight on, though. What are some of the benefits of establishing your paternity?
You secure the legal right to visitation and shared custody
If the state of Kentucky does not recognize you as the father of your child, then you can’t petition the courts for visitation or parenting time. Your access to your child will be completely dependent on the mother. Establishing paternity gives you the grounds to assert your parental rights and ensures that you can remain involved in your child’s life.
The mother receives both support and respite
Even the most devoted mother can become burned out because of the around-the-clock obligations of parenting. She may also experience intense stress that affects her parenting style and health if she doesn’t have enough income to support herself and her child comfortably.
Those times when you take your child may allow your child’s mother to rest or work a job. Any child support that you pay can also help improve the standard of living for your child.
Your child has security and a sense of family history
If you don’t establish paternity, your child could wind up in foster care if something happens to the mother. Even without that kind of tragedy, your child may feel isolated or lonely when they don’t have a legal, formal connection to their paternal family.
Establishing paternity can be a great decision that benefits everyone involved.