What are the benefits of establishing paternity for your child? In this important child custody step, fathers can provide a significant amount of support for their kids, all with a few simple steps. Plus, paternity can help you in your child custody case, allowing you to get orders for shared time or even full custody of your children. Establishing paternity is critical for fathers who want to be involved in their kids’ futures.

Paternity is assumed if the parents are married, but special steps must be taken if you are unmarried. Paternity can be established voluntarily between two unmarried adults at the hospital when the child is born. Additional options exist for parents who are unmarried at the time of birth but later get married – in this instance, the father must complete a special form to get his name on the child’s birth certificate.

Paternity can also be established by a court order, in which some fathers are given genetic tests to determine their relationship with the child. Fathers can be ordered to have their names added to the child’s birth certificate. This process can involve hearings and signing consent forms.

A child who has established paternity has access to his or her parents’ resources. Your child may be entitled to Social Security or veterans’ benefits, for instance, if you establish paternity. Children with established paternity also have the right to child support and other payments. Further, you could petition the court for child custody if you are listed as the official father — otherwise, the process can be quite challenging. Consider the benefits of establishing paternity in Florida.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, “Establishing Paternity,” accessed May 19, 2017