Many men find it difficult to legally establish their paternal rights when they have a child out of wedlock. Under the eyes of the law, there is a key distinction between a “legal father” and a “biological father.” Unfortunately, a biological father doesn’t have any legal rights to his child until paternity is established. In South Carolina, a biological father can establish his parental rights by signing a “Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement” with the mother, requesting a DNA test through DSS, or by filing a “Petition to Establish Paternity.”
Establishing paternity is important because it provides many benefits to the father, mother, and child.
When a biological father successfully establishes paternity, he can request child custody and visitation rights from the court. Because the connection is now both legal and biological, the court is likely to determine a fair custody schedule that benefits the child and both parents. This gives the father an opportunity to establish a relationship with his child and participate in their upbringing. Legally, the child’s mother is unable to deny the father’s visitation rights—unless there are mitigating circumstances accepted by the court.
Oftentimes, a single mother has the difficult task of raising her child on a single income and without a partner’s support. If a father successfully establishes paternity, the mother is able to share the responsibilities of parenthood and not be the sole financial provider. After all, once paternity is established, the mother can request a child support order from the court.
Children benefit greatly when they are able to build strong and lasting relationships with their mothers and fathers. When a father establishes his paternity, the child can thrive under a dual support network that fulfills their greater emotional needs. Also, child support payments can provide for the child’s basic needs and ensures a financially stable living environment. It’s also important to note that children can inherit genetic medical conditions from their mothers and fathers. Sometimes, doctors can effectively treat these conditions by knowing the parents’ medical histories.
Schedule a Consultation
At Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. our Madison family lawyers have been assisting families for over 40 years. Contact our firm if you have concerns about your parental rights or have questions about establishing paternity. We have helped many unmarried families develop parenting plans that are beneficial to both parents and provide for the child’s needs.
Call our Madison family law attorneys at (608) 765-1001 to schedule a consultation.