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Establishing paternity is not just about child support

In Kentucky, paternity can either be established by Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or by going to court. When a child is born to a single mother, she retains sole physical and legal custody of the baby unless paternity is established. It is important on many fronts to know the identity of the biological father, and there are two ways to obtain that information.

Completing the VAP

If the biological father acknowledges paternity, hospital staff can complete the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the time the baby is born, as long as genetic testing is not needed. The parents should read the VAP, make sure they understand it, then sign their names to it in the presence of a notary public who will be on hand at the hospital or medical center. The name of the father can then be added to the birth certificate.

Going to court and undergoing genetic testing

If necessary, the person alleged to be the father of the baby can sign an order, which will be entered by the court. If paternity is being contested, however, genetic tests will be required. DNA samples will be taken from the mother, the child and the alleged father. This is a simple test, which is done by swiping a swab through the inside of the mouth. The DNA samples will be send to the lab for analysis, but the results may take up to a month or longer.

The benefits of fatherhood

Every child has the right to know who his or her father is, and should be free to interact with him. Simply put, if a father wants to form a relationship with his child and have a say in how he or she is raised, he must establish paternity. Once that is done, the father has a right to form a relationship with his child.

The importance of paternity to the child

In addition to being able to have a relationship with the birth father, a child has the right to benefit financially. In addition to monetary support, he or she should receive legal advantages that include death benefits, social security and veteran's benefits down the road, if applicable, as well as any inheritance if the birth father should die. Another important benefit is access to his medical history so that the child will know of any genetic medical issue that might exist.

Seeking legal help

If a woman is getting ready to greet a new baby as a single parent, she may have many questions if the issue of paternity is involved. Parents can turn to an experienced attorney who practices family law in Kentucky and can give the answers and support they need .

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