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Should I establish parentage with a dead-beat dad?

If you are a woman and you have had a child with a man you were not married to at the time the child was conceived or born, you may want to do one of two things: have the father sign a Declaration of Parentage or obtain a court order requesting the man submit to genetic testing proving he is the father.

However, if the man adds little perceived value to your child's life and may even cause detriment if involved, you may feel that it is unnecessary or ill-advised to establish parentage.

While those sentiments may be justified and are certainly understandable, there are some valid reasons for pursuing the establishment of parentage legally and with the courts.

If you have any hopes of receiving financial support, you won't be able to pursue it legally without proof of the child's father. This goes beyond genetic testing and requires an official establishment of parentage. Moreover, if the father and mother are confirmed legally, the child can have two names on his or her birth certificate and will have access to a much more specifically-tailored record of medical history. Not only this, but the child will now have the rights to inheritance, veteran's benefits and social security benefits. The child may also be able to use the father's medical insurance as a dependent and may have access to life insurance monies in the event the father should pass on.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects is that every parent is legally responsible for financially supporting their child's basic needs. If the biological father refuses to do this, you can hold him financially accountable.

If you aren't sure what the best approach is to establish parentage, you may best be advised by a California family law attorney. He or she may be able to better answer your questions, relieve your concerns and get you and your child on the path to the greatest growth and peace.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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