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Kentucky encouarges unwed fathers to legally claim paternity

Many years ago, it was considered taboo for a woman to have a child without being married to the baby's father. However, it is now an accepted part of normal family life, though states have devised laws that dictate how a biological father can legally establish paternity of his child regardless of marital status. Kentucky is no exception, and it has created an avenue for men to seek legal recognition as a child's father.

The state has set up its Paternity Acknowledgment Program, which provides an official document that allows an unwed father to claim his legal parental rights. The state touts the benefits to both parents and children when this document is entered into the official vital statistics department. Once signed, the biological father is acknowledged as the legal parent and is included on the child's birth certificate.

Studies have detailed the important role fathers play in their children's lives. Sons who have a father figure involved in their lives are shown to be better citizens and students who experience more positive outcomes throughout their lives. Girls who are raised with a father's influence demonstrate better school performance in certain subject areas and also tend to experience more confidence and success in their lives.

Fathers who choose to establish paternity in this manner tend to develop closer bonds with their child while also allowing their offspring to qualify for certain benefits, including insurance and inheritance rights. Having a documented lineage can also permit children greater access to vital health history information as well as receiving greater financial and emotional support from both parents. Signing this form eliminates the need to seek DNA testing or petitioning a court for these rights at a later time. Kentucky families who are seeking to establish these rights or have other concerns relating to family law matters may seek information from an experienced attorney.

Source: oldhamcountyhealthdepartment.org, "Kentucky Paternity Acknowledgment Program", Accessed on Dec. 17, 2017

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