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3 main challenges to establishing paternity as a father

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Father's rights & paternity

One of the reasons a father seeks paternity is to have a voice in his child’s future. Paternity gives fathers not only the right to custody but also a say in major decisions affecting their child’s life. However, discovering you’re fathering a child doesn’t automatically grant you these rights. To establish paternity, you must either sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) or undergo a court-ordered paternity test.

Remember, though, that this process isn’t always straightforward. While it’s good news to have a child of your own, you may encounter challenges as you work toward establishing your legal paternity rights.

The mother may not be cooperative

Your first obstacle may be the mother’s lack of cooperation. She might refuse to sign the VAP or resist a paternity test. Her continued refusal to establish paternity can stall the process and may even require court intervention. Rest assured, you have the right to request a paternity test. Kentucky courts can mandate the test to establish paternity if the mother refuses.

The paternity establishment process may be complex

Establishing paternity can be complex. Legal procedures, deadlines and paperwork can overwhelm those unfamiliar with them. It’s crucial to file all documents correctly and promptly. Even a minor error can delay the process and complicate your paternity establishment.

You must follow the appropriate steps to validate your claim to fatherhood. This applies whether you’re establishing paternity rights through signing a VAP at the hospital or later, or if you’re requesting a court-ordered paternity test because the mother disputes your claim.

Disputes over custody and visitation still exist

Lastly, after establishing paternity, you may think the road gets easier. However, you could still face disputes over custody and visitation. Even as the legal father, securing the right to custody or visitation isn’t guaranteed. Courts always consider the child’s best interests when making these decisions, considering factors such as age, health and relationship with each parent. You may need to prove you can provide for the child’s needs, which can be challenging if the mother contests your claims.

These challenges may seem hard to overcome, but remember that establishing paternity is a significant step. Despite the potential obstacles, the reward of having legal recognition as your child’s father is immeasurable. If you need help in the process, consider consulting an attorney. They can guide you through the legalities involved.