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Must you establish paternity for a chance at child custody?

New Jersey fathers have a lot of life changes ahead of them. But you must cement your involvement in a child’s life to accept these changes. To do so, you must establish paternity. The process is different for married and unmarried fathers. But the end result is the same. 

Why is it important to establish paternity? Is it something all fathers really need to do? Today we will take a look into that question. We will answer why establishing paternity is such an important factor for fathers. 

Importance of paternity 

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse discusses why it is important to establish paternity. First, it is important to note that mothers automatically have rights over a child. This is because they give birth to the child. There is no question about maternity of a child for that reason. 

You must establish paternity in the eyes of the law to count. For married men, this means signing a birth certificate at the time a child is born. If you cannot be present at their birth for some reason, you can sign the documentation later. It is easier for married men to establish paternity. Law often views them as the father of their wife’s child by default. Unwed fathers have other hoops to jump through. 

Child custody and paternity 

There are many reasons to establish paternity. Child custody is a big one. If you and your co-parent ever split up, what happens to your parental rights? If you are not the father of the child in the law’s eyes, you do not have these rights. This means you cannot fight for child custody. There is no guarantee you will even get visitation rights. 

For many fathers, this is an unacceptable loss. This is why it is important to establish paternity in advance, so these scenarios do not come to pass. 

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