There are benefits to establishing paternity, both for the child and for the parents. If you would like to establish paternity in Maryland, there are several options available.
The parents can voluntarily acknowledge paternity of the child at the hospital where the child is born by completing a form. Once the father signs the form, he is legally recognized as the child’s father. Parents also have the option to contact the state child support administration to establish paternity if they both agree on who the child’s father is.
If the parents do not agree on paternity, they will need to appear in court where a judge will order the proposed father to complete genetic testing. Genetic testing usually involves collecting DNA from the proposed father and comparing it with the child’s DNA. If the genetic test confirms paternity, the court will issue an order.
Once paternity is established, the child has the right to receive child support, which is intended to provide for the child’s basic needs, like food, clothing, shelter and education. The child also has the right to inherit from both parents.
It can also help the child establish a deeper relationship with extended family members and provide them with emotional benefits within their family, supporting their sense of identity and self-esteem.
Paternity establishes legal rights and responsibilities for the father and allows him to request custody or visitation with the child. Both parents may have an opportunity to make decisions for the child, such as the school they attend, their religious upbringing and the medical care they receive.