Establishing paternity means being declared the legal father after the child is born. If the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until paternity is established.
Establishing paternity is important for both the child and the parents. A child is entitled to the sense of belonging and identity that comes from knowing both parents. Establishing paternity often has an important emotional and psychological benefit for the child. Also, until there is a determination that a biological father is the legal father, the child has no rights to receive financial support from the father, to inherit from the father or to obtain insurance, veterans’, social security or other benefits through the father. Likewise, until paternity is legally established, the biological father has no legal rights to the child, such as parenting time with the child. Additionally, he has no legal right to participate in major decisions about the child, such as medical treatment, education or religious training. Additionally, genetic diseases are inherited, this knowing your biological ancestry can be useful in proactive care and transplantation.
Paternity fraud, or the false identification of a man as the father of a child, is a a serious problem in the U.S. and throughout the world. According to USA Today, a report from the American Association of Blood Banks says that approximately 30% of the paternity tests performed annually in the United States result in the exclusion of the alleged individual as the biological father. Today, it is projected that there are over 7 million children in the United States that are unknowingly calling the wrong person “Dad”.