While establishing paternity does create a legal obligation for the father to financially support a child, it has so many more benefits. One of these is the improved likelihood that the father will become an active part of the child’s life.
The Children’s Bureau lists a number of advantages of fatherhood engagement.
Studies show that when a father is active in his child’s life, it improves the child’s physical, mental and emotional wellness. Children are more likely to succeed at school when their fathers get involved through interactions with teachers and others. They are less likely to suffer from mental health challenges such as depression and are typically better at managing stress levels.
To be able to secure legal access along with full parental rights and responsibilities, the California Courts explain that a man who is not married to his child’s mother must establish paternity through the legal system. Once this is complete, the child will have both parents on the birth certificate.
The child gains a number of rights at this point that could benefit him or her financially, including inheritance rights and rights to certain government benefits, such as Social Security.
Fathers can obtain health insurance and life insurance policies for their children. Another important factor is providing a child with a more comprehensive family medical history. Knowing a disease “runs in the family” may help a child to take steps to prevent it. For example, a family history of colon cancer may prompt an adult to have yearly exams after a certain age.
Above all, taking the initiative to establish paternity and bestow these benefits can give fathers the opportunity to create and maintain a strong, healthy bond with their children.