Of all the things that cause conflict in a young child's life, one of the most important to address is paternity. Knowing whether you are the father of a child is important for you and for them as they grow up.
Children need to know where they come from. It gives them a strong sense of self. It also helps them understand their genetics and certain medical conditions or diseases that may run in the family.
For fathers, paternity is more than just proving that a child is yours. It gives you the legal right to see your child, to seek custody and to maintain a relationship. It may also result in obligations, such as child support if you are not the primary custodian.
What can you do if you're not sure that you're the father of a child?
If you aren't sure that you're the father of a child, it's best to seek out a DNA test as soon as possible. Although someone may say a child looks like you, looks can be deceiving. A DNA test will prove that there is a genetic relationship between you if one exists.
What should you do if the mother refuses the DNA test?
While most people agree to a DNA test right away, those who do not can be taken to court and ordered to submit to testing.
Our website has more on family law and paternity so that you can learn more about your rights as a parent and what to do if you are in a tricky legal situation with your child.