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Why is it important to officially establish paternity?

One of the first questions people have about paternity testing is usually fairly simple: What makes it important? What are the main reasons to get the test done, outside of just giving yourself the peace of mind of knowing for sure who the child's father is? There are a few important reasons to consider, including the following:

-- A paternity test can help to set up a legal basis for collecting benefits. These could include inheritance benefits, social security benefits and veteran's benefits.

-- The test may also be useful if trying to seek child support and other types of assistance.

-- A father can be granted some legal rights and abilities, such as the right to visit his child while he or she is in the hospital.

-- On the medical front, it's also important to know the medical history of the father so that medical care providers can consider it when caring for the child. If the father has a history of cancer in his family, for example, the child needs to know that, as it may raise the odds that he or she will also develop cancer, and early detection can make a big difference.

-- It's also important to remember that the emotional bond between a father and a child may grow stronger after the test is done. This can be very good for the child's development and growth, and he or she will have fewer questions about lineage down the road.

As you can see, a paternity test is often well worth it, providing valuable information for the child and both parents. It may be wise to look into how the test is done and the social and legal implications in Texas.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, "Paternity," accessed May 27, 2016

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