3 Reasons A Petition For Paternity Is Better Than An Acknowledgement Of Paternity

If you are the father of a child and were not married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, then in most states you will not have legal rights nor obligations to the child. However, there are several ways that you can gain legal rights to the child, including physical or legal custody, visitation, and the right of notice in case the child is put up for adoption. The two most common ways to establish paternal rights are an acknowledgement of paternity and a petition for paternity. 

An acknowledgement of paternity is a legal document signed by you and the biological mother that states you are the father of the child. You may request a paternity test before signing this affidavit, but the mother does not have to agree to allow one and, after a certain amount of time has passed, the affidavit will be permanent even if a paternity test reveals that you are not the father. 

Alternatively, a petition for paternity almost always involves a paternity test and is an official ruling by a judge that establishes your paternal rights. You may file an acknowledgement of paternity and then, later, file a petition for paternity. There are several reasons why you may want to file a petition for paternity instead of just filing an acknowledgement. 

Both Approaches May Require That You Pay Child Support 

Whether you simply acknowledge your paternity or have it legally stated, you may be responsible for child support to the child. However, since a petition for paternity can offer you additional rights such as partial custody, you may end up paying less child support if you file a petition for paternity than you would if you simply file an acknowledgement of paternity. 

A Successful Petition for Paternity Affords You More Rights 

The only right that acknowledgement of paternity gives you is the right of notice. This means that if the mother wants to give the child up for adoption, you will need to be notified and agree to the adoption. Alternatively, a successful petition for paternity can give you visitation rights, partial or full custody, and the ability to cover your child under your insurance and benefit plans. 

A Petition for Paternity Can Prevent the Mother From Moving Out of State With Your Child 

Perhaps one of the most important rights, a petition for paternity can make it difficult for the mother of your child to move your child out of your current state without your knowledge and permission, guaranteeing that you can be a part of your child's life as they grow up. 

Contact a professional like Lois Iannone Attorney at Law for more help.