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Establishing paternity could mean more time with your kids

Are you a father who feels you do not spend enough time with your children? If so, you are not alone. According to a survey by Pew Research, a majority of fathers do not feel that they spend enough time with their children, more so than mothers.

If you never married the mother of your children, it may be more difficult for you to claim custody rights. However, you can affirm a legal relationship that would ensure your parental rights by establishing paternity.

Many fathers do not spend time with children because they do not live together

There are many reasons why fathers feel that they do not spend enough time with their children. Most of the reasons relate to other obligations that either fathers or children must fulfill, such as work or school. However, approximately one-fifth of all fathers report that they do not spend enough time with their children because the children do not live with them all the time. If you had divorced the children’s mother, the law would presume that you were the father of her children if a marital relationship existed between you and the mother at the time of the children’s births. The law makes no such presumption of unmarried fathers, but you can claim parental rights by legally establishing paternity.

You may not need a DNA test

DNA tests can establish paternity by confirming a biological link between you and your children. However, they usually are not necessary unless there is a question or dispute about paternity. If you and the mother both affirm that you are the father of the children, you can establish paternity by filling out a form.

Establishing paternity does not automatically grant you custody rights to your children, but it puts you in a better legal position to claim them.