As a parent, you want to give your child every advantage in life. While having two caring, nurturing people to provide the love and support a child needs may be the ideal, it does not always work out this way. Fortunately, children brought up in single parent homes have just as much chance to grow up and lead a well-balanced, happy, and productive life as any other. However, not naming the father does create hardships, both for the child and the mother involved. If you are in this situation and have not taken the time to establish paternity, our New Jersey family law attorney urges you to consider it as an option.
The Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are many reasons for a mother to not list her child’s biological father’s name on the birth certificate. They may have been involved romantically for only a brief period, having lost touch before the pregnancy was discovered, or it may have been a long standing relationship but the father was against the idea of having a child. Issues pertaining to abuse, addiction, or criminal behavior often lead an expectant mother to think leaving the father out of her and the child’s life is the best course of action. In still other cases, the child may have been conceived during an affair while the mother was married. As a result, the wrong person may be listed on the birth certificate.
In any of these situations, filing paternity proceedings through the Middlesex County Courts is a smart idea. In addition to helping ensure your child receives the financial support he or she deserves, establishing legal paternity also provides the following benefits:
- Provides access to medical health history and other potentially pertinent genealogical information;
- Ensures access to any Social Security or Veteran’s Administration benefits the child may be entitled to;
- Established the child as a legal heir of the father, entitling the child to inherit from the father’s estate;
- Gives the child a greater sense of identity and opens the door for a future relationship with the father.
Provided the father’s actions do not endanger you or the child, initiating paternity proceedings and working towards regular visitation may be a good thing for all involved. Just because your relationship did not work out, he may still have the potential to be a good father to your child.
Establishing Paternity In New Jersey
Under the New Jersey State Statutes, there are three basic ways in which paternity can be established:
- Through marriage: If you were married at the time the child was born, your husband will automatically be assumed as the father.
- Through a Certificate of Parentage: If you are unmarried at the time the child was born, you and the father can sign this certificate, acknowledging paternity.
- Through paternity proceedings: As a result of initiating paternity proceedings through your attorney, a hearing will be held in the local family court. A cheek swab will be obtained from you, the alleged father, and the child to test and compare DNA.
If the results are positive, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate and child support will be ordered. Custody and visitation are matters that could be considered through legal proceedings at a later date.
Discuss Your Options With Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorneys
The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. provides the trusted legal guidance you need when dealing with sensitive matters, such as paternity proceedings. Contact our Milltown paternity attorney today and request a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.