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Establishing paternity: it involves more than financial support

When the family structure changes due to your Alabama divorce, the court ensures both you and your ex have a relationship with your kids. You legally share the financial and child-rearing responsibilities. However, if you were not married, the father may not have any legal rights or financial obligations.

According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, establishing paternity is necessary before you can settle questions about visitation, custody or child support. A person must financially support their child after legally establishing parenthood.

Bringing a paternity action

Unmarried fathers must legally establish paternity, which may require a paternity action. It is a legal process in which the court confirms a child’s father. If your ex acknowledges your child is his, a judge can sign his official declaration of parentage. If he refuses, the court may order a DNA test. This test can confirm or disprove the biological relationship.

Benefits of establishing parenthood

A sense of family and security comes with knowing one’s parents. It also provides him with the same rights and privileges as children whose parents are still together, which include the following:

  • Access to family history and medical records
  • Health and life insurance from either parent
  • Financial support from both parents
  • Having both parents’ names on the birth certificate
  • Inheritance rights from either parent
  • Ability to receive veteran’s benefits and social security

Once you establish parenthood, your child gets the benefit of knowing you both. In most cases, the dad assumes a certain amount of child-rearing responsibilities as well as a financial obligation for his child. Understanding how the state views your child’s best interest is crucial for developing a parenting plan or limiting visitation.

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