Unless the parents of a child are legally married or registered domestic partners at the time of the child’s birth, parentage is never assumed and court action to legally establish paternity (and rights and responsibilities that accompany that determination) is needed. After being presented with appropriate evidence, a court will determine who the legal parents are, which establishes certain important rights of the children, including the right to support. It is important that children know who their legal parents are as their legal rights are impacted. Some of the rights children are entitled to from their married or unmarried parents include the right to receive financial support from both legal parents; being able to obtain health records and medical histories from both parents’ families; eligibility for health insurance benefits from either or both parents; inheritance rights from both parents; and, the right to social security and veteran’s benefits, where applicable
After paternity is established legally, the court can make appropriate orders to give the child the benefit of these legal rights.