If you fathered a child with a woman who is not your wife, join the crowd. Largely due to the declining marriage rate, out-of-wedlock births now account for about 40 percent of U.S. births. The proportion is almost twice as high among certain ethnic groups.
Most mothers in these situations are not irresponsible people. Many want to have children, but they do not want to get married. Likewise, most fathers in this situation are not irresponsible people either. They visit their children and pay financial support.
So, many dads want to leave well enough alone. They understandably do not want ex-girlfriends scrutinizing their financial affairs and digging into their personal relationships. They also do not want a McLeod County judge to dictate orders.
In most cases, these fears are unfounded. In terms of child support, Minnesota is an income share state, so support payments are in line with both parents’ incomes. Furthermore, most paternity claims settle out of court. Since Hutchinson, MN child custody lawyers do all the work, most personal information in the case remains private. In fact, the only court intervention may occur at the end of the case, when a judge signs the agreed order.
So, when fathers file paternity actions, they have basically nothing to lose and some significant things to gain, as outlined below.
In most cases, only a final paternity order establishes a legal father-child relationship. Signing the birth certificate, in and of itself, is usually insufficient.
Such a declaration is the first step toward a lifelong emotional relationship. As a father, you have the legal right to spend time with your child. If the mother does anything to hinder that relationship, no matter how subtle it is, she could lose custody of the child.
Furthermore, only legal fathers usually have the right o be on school mailing lists and other such items. So, dads know about school plays, field trips, awards ceremonies, and other events. Moreover, if your child is in an athletic or other contest, you have the right to attend.
When children get older, thoughts often turn to inheritance and succession. If you want to include your children in these things, you must be their legal father. When children are very young, it is usually easier to work with a Hutchinson, MN child custody lawyer to establish paternity. The longer you wait, the more difficult this process becomes.
There is also an intangible familial benefit. Mothers may make lifestyle choices, but children need to be involved in families. A family is still a family, even if everyone does not live under the same roof.
Hutchinson, MN Child Custody Lawyers, Fathers, and Financial Benefits of Paternity
Yes, a paternity action has financial benefits for fathers. As mentioned, most fathers already support their children financially. So, a paternity order simply puts these informal arrangements into writing.
Once this paperwork is in place, fathers get credit for everything they pay. The mother cannot later claim she did not receive support. Additionally, most family support arrangements include wage withholding and other such orders. So, fathers do not have to make manual payments. The money automatically goes to the state, which is responsible for sending the money to the mother.
There is sometimes some overlap between the financial and familial benefits. For various reasons, some intentional and some unintentional, mothers sometimes make it difficult for fathers to see their children. Legally, support payments and visitation are two separate things. No one can deny visitation because the father is temporarily behind on a financial support obligation.
On a final note, many fathers receive Social Security and other government benefits. Legal children may be able to obtain these benefits as well.
Family history is a very important diagnostic tool. If the doctor only has the mother’s medical family history, the doctor only knows half the story.
Additionally, most group health insurance plans allow policyholders to include legal dependents on their insurance policies. This coverage is often the least expensive option that provides high-quality care. Moreover, this arrangement lets fathers stay in control of their children’s’ health insurance needs.
Finally, if a child goes to the hospital, the hospital will only inform the legal father, in most cases. Similarly, the hospital can prohibit most people from visiting the child, but these prohibitions normally do not apply to legal fathers.
Work with a Dedicated Attorney
Paternity actions have benefits for mothers, children, and fathers. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson, MN child custody lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can start fighting for you.