4 reasons to determine paternity in Arkansas

Determining paternity in Arkansas has benefit for the mother, father and child involved in the case.

There are several ways that parents in Arkansas can legally determine paternity through a court order. Often, the presumed father signs an acknowledgement form, called an "acknowledgment of paternity." However, this form creates certain obligations of support, without actually establishing visitation or custody rights for the father.

In pursuing paternity through the courts, the mother, child and father can each benefit from establishing rights and obligations. The following illustrate why parents should take these steps:

1. Medical history

Although it may not be the first item that parents consider when considering paternity issues, learning about the father's medical history is an important part of keeping the child healthy. Through establishing fatherhood, the child can learn about genetic conditions that may be in the family and provide medical professionals with a comprehensive look at diseases that he or she may be predisposed to.

2. Child support

Many paternity cases arise out of circumstances in which one parent needs child support from another. The Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement can help custodial parents establish paternity through ordering testing. It will even contact the appropriate agency in a state where the alleged father lives in order to secure the information.

3. Legal rights

Once paternity is determined, the father will have certain legal rights to the child, including the possibility of custody or visitation rights. These benefits are incredibly important to establishing and maintaining a relationship between father and child.

4. Health care and other benefits

Another way that a child may benefit from legally having a father is that he or she will be eligible for certain benefits. For example, the father could put the child on his medical insurance. Social Security benefits, life insurance benefits, workers' compensation benefits and some veterans' benefits are also accessible to a child once paternity has been established.

5. Identity

Lastly, establishing paternity simply lets a child know where he or she comes from. This can be an essential part of a child feeling secure about him- or herself. Further, it can open the door to relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. It can also enable the child to learn more about his or her heritage and family history.

People who have concerns about this topic should speak with a family law attorney in Arkansas.