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In New Jersey, fathers must take certain steps to establish paternity. This process is easier for married men. The state law accepts a married man as the father of his wife’s child. For unmarried men, there are more steps to go through.

Today we will look at reasons you should go through these steps. Some people may find themselves deterred because of the possibility of child support. But you could lose out on much more if you do not establish paternity.

Your rights as a father

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse discusses the importance of establishing paternity. The primary reason is for involvement in your child’s life. Unfortunately, without legal establishment of paternity, you hold no rights as a father. This means you have no say in how your co-parent raises your child. Do you want a say in the religion your child practices? What about the schools they attend? Do you want your opinion heard for medical decisions about their health? If you answer yes to any of that, you must establish paternity.

Paternity and child custody

There is also a matter of custody. No one can guarantee they will stay with their partner forever. What if you and your co-parent ever go your separate ways? Not having paternity could end your relationship with your child. You need legal paternity to have a chance at involvement in custody schedules. Without this, your co-parent will gain full custody. They do not have to include you even in visitations.

Most fathers want some involvement in their children’s life. If this is the case for you, consider establishing paternity today.