You must be identified as the biological father to preserve your rights to child custody and visitation of your child. Understanding the paternity process is important, especially if you are considering a legal fight for your rights as a parent.
If you have reason to believe that the child’s mother might try to interfere with your custodial rights, there are things you should know about paternity testing.
When should paternity be legally established?
If the birth mother listed you as the father on the birth certificate and you signed it at the time of the child’s birth, that establishes paternity. If you have any questions about biological paternity, you should not sign the birth certificate until you confirm it with a paternity test. You may also need to validate paternity if the birth mother refuses to list your name on the birth certificate. Paternity testing establishes a foundation to fight for your custodial rights if you are the father.
How should you confirm paternity?
If you are still on good terms with the birth mother, you can often request a paternity test in the hospital at the time of birth. If the birth mother is less than cooperative, you may need a court order. Petition the court for a paternity test with the help of an attorney. You must show legal grounds for the test, including your belief that the child is yours.
Paternity testing is quick and easy with either a blood test or mouth swab. Once you have the results, you can pursue your custodial or visitation rights and get a court order.