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Should you establish paternity?

In New Jersey, how do fathers establish their rights? Married fathers have it a little easier. The law considers them the father of their wife’s child automatically. But what about unmarried fathers? These men often go through more hoops. The steps they must complete often discourage them.

Today we will look at why it is important to establish paternity anyway. This is true for any father who wishes for involvement in their child’s life.

Establishing paternity for your child

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse looks at reasons to establish paternity. The primary reason is, of course, for their child. You may not realize it, but you must establish legal paternity for the law to consider you a child’s father. Some fathers think this is not a necessary step. But it is actually crucial.

Why is it crucial? Without establishing paternity, you do not have a legal say in your child’s life. Even if you are the biological father, you must prove paternity to claim paternal rights. What are paternal rights? These rights include your ability to:

  • Have your opinion heard for medical decisions
  • Request involvement in selecting a child’s religion
  • Have a say in where your child attends school

Protecting your paternal rights

Also, what if your co-parent wants to claim primary custody? You only have a chance of fighting against this if you can claim legal parenthood. You even need established paternity for inclusion in a visitation schedule.

Because of this, all fathers should consider establishing paternity. After all, you do not know what the future brings. You do not know how much involvement you will want in your child’s life. But if you do not establish paternity, you cannot have any involvement.