It is common these days for children to be born to couples who are not married. As a result, there is no automatic assumption regarding the paternity of the child, like there would be if the parents were married. This isn't always a problem, but it can become one if the unmarried couple ever break-up. That is why it is crucial for fathers in Pennsylvania to establish paternity.
If the issue of paternity becomes contested, a court proceeding may be necessary. Establishing paternity can be relatively simple: it is accomplished with a DNA test. If the DNA test shows a match of near-certainty as to the father's paternity claim, it becomes legally established.
It is part of a father's rights to establish paternity, as doing so will allow the father to have a legal right to foster a relationship with the child. It will allow the father to pursue a child custody arrangement, perhaps to be awarded not only with visitation time with the child, but potentially physical or legal custody to some extent.
When paternity is established, it will also allow the mother of the child to potentially seek a child support order. Many fathers pay child support willingly, knowing that their financial support of the child is crucial. However, child support cases can become contentious as well, leaving fathers in a position to press their rights in those cases also. Fathers in Pennsylvania will need to know all of their legal options when it comes to establishing paternity, as well as child custody and child support issues.