When you have a child with your spouse, there is an automatic assumption that your spouse is the father of your child. In cases where a child is born out of wedlock, however, this is not necessarily the case. Several situations arising after the birth of your child count as voluntarily assumed paternity, such as if you marry after your child is born.

We understand how the law applies to the legal rights and responsibilities of paternal fathers and have helped many of our clients with their cases.

The importance of legal paternity

Aside from the psychological and emotional benefits that result from a child knowing his or her father, there are also legal benefits to be aware of. According to FindLaw, a child is not entitled to receive financial support without established legal paternity. This means they cannot sue for the wrongful death of their father, inherit portions of their father’s estate or even access health information regarding their father’s side of the family.

Additionally, if you wish to seek child support, you must establish paternity to do so.

The circumstances of voluntarily assumed paternity

In the following situations, paternity is automatically assumed. If you are not married to your child’s father and none of these circumstances apply, you must establish legal paternity.

  • You have the child with your spouse
  • You marry the father after the child is born
  • You are never married, but the father’s name is on the birth certificate or the father legally acknowledges paternity
  • The father readily accepts and raises the child as his own
  • The father and the child have a close relationship, to the degree that a court grants parental rights

More information about this topic is available on our webpage.