Kentucky fathers: Establishing paternity and protecting your rights

Being an involved father is an essential part of a child’s life. However, for unmarried fathers in Kentucky, establishing paternity can be confusing.

As a father, here’s what you should know about how to secure your legal rights and build a strong foundation for future involvement with your child.

Why establish paternity?

Paternity goes beyond just having your name on the birth certificate. It grants you crucial legal rights, including:

  • Visitation: Paternity allows you to petition the court for visitation rights, ensuring you have a consistent presence in your child’s life.
  • Child support: If financially able, you have the right to contribute to your child’s well-being through child support payments.
  • Decision-making: Paternity grants you a say in major decisions concerning your child’s upbringing, including education and healthcare.

When you can document and establish paternity, you create a future for your relationship with your child.

Establishing paternity in Kentucky

There are two main ways to establish paternity in Kentucky:

  • Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity: This is the simplest method, where both parents sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity. This can be done at the hospital after birth or later at your local health department or child support office.
  • Court order: If an agreement cannot be reached, a court can establish paternity through DNA testing. The court can also make decisions about child support and custody arrangements.

Fatherhood is an important responsibility and an exciting journey. When you establish paternity, you are taking the next step toward supporting your child.

Considering legal counsel

While the voluntary acknowledgment process is straightforward, involving a lawyer can be beneficial in situations where:

  • The mother disagrees with paternity.
  • There are complications regarding child custody or support.
  • You have concerns about protecting your parental rights.

An experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected and advocating for your best interests in establishing a relationship with your child.

Taking the steps to establish paternity is an investment in your child’s future and your own fatherhood journey. By understanding the process and seeking legal guidance when necessary, you can build a strong foundation for a lifelong connection with your child.