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Fathers have rights but first they need to prove paternity

Fathers have parental rights just like mothers do. In the case of a child born out of wedlock, however, it's not always immediately clear who the father happens to be. If you are facing a circumstance in which you want to establish paternity and play a role in the life of your child, but the mother is denying you're the father, you may have to step forward and prove you're the father in court.

Before blood and DNA testing, proving paternity with absolute accuracy wasn't possible. The best that courts could do was take a guess, but if the mother denied it, the father might not ever be able to establish parentage - and he might not ever get to spend time with his children.

Now, proving paternity isn't very difficult. Filing a paternity lawsuit is a straightforward process in the case of a child who is born to an unmarried mother. The father will file the appropriate legal paperwork, appear at a court hearing and then submit to DNA blood testing. Since DNA testing offers near-perfect accuracy, once the process is complete, no further questions will remain pertaining to the parentage of the man who was tested.

Following the establishment of paternity, the father will probably be required to pay a certain amount of child support to the mother each month. This contribution is a legal requirement for most unmarried fathers. The father will also be able to request visitation rights from the mother, and in the majority of situations, the court will support such a request by giving the father the right to spend a regular and specific amount of unfettered time with the child.

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