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What is the legal importance of establishing paternity?

Few Nebraska residents can dispute the general importance of having a child's paternity established. Doing so benefits all parties involved especially the child and his or her parents. Sometimes when an unmarried couple has a child, they feel no need to establish paternity legally because they are a couple or maintain a friendly relationship.

Unfortunately, many relationships break down over time and animosity may arise between the two parents. If the child's parents have already taken steps to establish paternity, it can minimize the possibility of becoming embroiled in legal battles involving the child.

Specifically for the father, making certain paternity has been legally determined ensures the continuation of his fathers' rights. This means the father can have a say in how the child will be cared for. It also means he will be able to enjoy visitation rights or even custody of the child. Perhaps most importantly, it means that the child cannot be adopted without the father's consent.

The mother of a child also benefits from establishing paternity. In addition to receiving financial support from the father, the mother will have the opportunity to receive assistance in raising and caring for the child.

Finally, the child will benefit from knowing the identity of his or her father. When children receive love, care and financial support from two active parents, they have the best chance of growing up to be healthy and well-balanced adults.

It does not matter if you are a child's mom or dad, you can take steps to have paternity established legally in the state of Nebraska. You can do this on your own but many people find the process less intimidating when they work with a family law attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Significance of Paternity," accessed Nov. 14, 2016

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