When a mother gives birth to a child when she is not married to the child’s father, the law requires paternity to be established before it will recognize an individual as the father of the child and bestow the rights and obligations of parenthood upon the Father. Establishing paternity is the legal process for determining the biological father of the child. Once paternity is established, the child will gain the following rights and benefits, just as a child born to married parents:
the child will know and have legal proof of the identity of his or her mother and father;
the child will have the father’s name on his or her birth certificate;
· the child will be eligible to receive financial benefits and support from both parents, including child support, medical insurance, Social Security benefits, and inheritance; and
· the child can be informed of medical issues affecting family members, such as inherited health problems.