Why unmarried fathers need to establish paternity in Louisiana

More and more couples are choosing not to marry for various reasons, yet some still have children. Whether parenthood was intentional or not, it is important to establish paternity to protect your rights as a father and the rights of your kids. The law requires formal action when there is no marriage certificate.

The best way to do it is by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit at each child's birth. You and your partner can choose whose last name your children will carry. You can still sign the papers later, as well. If you are unsure if you are the father, even if you are married to the mother, a paternity test can determine if you are. You can revoke the affidavit within 60 days of signing if you find out you are not the father.

Maintain paternal rights

Why is it so important you claim fatherhood? First, it guarantees you have rights to your children, especially in the event of a breakup or the death of the mother. Without legal evidence that you are the father, you will have a difficult if not impossible time obtaining custodial rights of your children. It also grants you the parental rights to make important decisions in your children's behalf.

Provide rights to your children

Establishing paternity is not just for your sake but also for the sake of your children. Besides a relationship with and financial support from you, they receive additional advantages, says the state's Department of Children and Family Services.

First, your children knowing who you are will also allow them to know their complete medical histories. The more information doctors have about your children, the more effective and personalized the prevention and treatment of their health conditions will be.

Also, your children may be eligible for other financial benefits, such as inheritances, insurance, Social Security and veterans benefits. Establishing your paternity helps both you and your children, so do not delay in completing the process.

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