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Establishing paternity and the benefits for your child

When considering paternity, parents often think about the benefits for themselves. For example, one parent may want the right to seek child support or get visitation rights, and establishing official paternity can make that possible.

However, it's important to remember that there are also some serious benefits for the child. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The child will not have questions about his or her father's identity. Even when both parents aren't together and equally involved, just knowing who the father is can be very beneficial for the child from an emotional standpoint.

2. The child will have more information about the medical history in the family. This can help to predict certain diseases and disorders, perhaps helping with an earlier diagnosis and faster, more effective treatment.

3. The child can get child support, medical support, health insurance and life insurance. If the father has access to health insurance that the child can use, for instance, that father has to be legally recognized for the insurance company to honor that obligation.

4. The child gains access to other benefits and payments, such as Social Security payments, inheritances, military allowances and veteran's benefits. Obviously, every situation is different in terms of the specifics, but making this official family connection can help make it far easier for the child to benefit from these programs.

Simply knowing the identity of the child's father is not enough, in many cases, which is why it's important to consider creating an official link and proving paternity. While doing this, be sure you understand your own rights and obligations, as well as the rights and best interests of the child.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "Paternity," accessed May 19, 2017

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