While you may know that your child is your biological offspring, making sure you have legal rights through establishing paternity is an important step you should take.
According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, if you and the mother are husband and wife, then paternity is automatic, and you will not have to do anything to have legal parental rights to your child. The issue is if you are not married because the law does not presume you are the father.
Reasons to establish paternity
You should establish legal rights to your child because without them, you have no rights to visitation and custody or to make decisions for your child. If the mother decides that she does not want you around the child, she can prevent you from seeing him or her.
Getting your legal rights
You can establish paternity by completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity. You may get this form in the hospital. It allows you to voluntarily claim paternity. The mother will also have to sign this form agreeing you are the father.
The other option is through genetic testing. You will usually go through the state to get this done. A judge may order the testing. Do note that you will usually have to pay for the testing if it does show you are the father.
You can also use both methods to deny paternity if you were married at the time the mother gave birth, but you are not the father or believe you are not the father of the child. If you prove you are not the father, then your name will come off the birth certificate.