The role that a parent plays in the life of his or her child, whether for the best or worst, may be undeniable. However, various factors can make it difficult for a parent to assume the role that he or she is meant to play. In particular, unmarried parents might need to first establish paternity to ensure that all parties are as protected as possible.
Fathers in Oregon have the ability to voluntarily establish paternity of a child. While some couples may choose to marry shortly after the birth of a child and fill out the proper paperwork to establish paternity, it is not uncommon for more and more couples to forego the legalities of marriage altogether. In this instance, a father may still sign paperwork that acknowledges that he is the father of a child.
While many fathers choose to establish paternity in order to play a role in his child's life, involuntarily determining paternity is sometimes necessary. A mother has the option of pursuing a paternity lawsuit against the individual who she believes is the father of her child. Often, this results in the person who is believed to be the father submitting to a DNA test to determine whether he is actually the father. On many occasions, this is done in an attempt to seek financial support through child support.
As with most aspects of family law involving children in Oregon, his or her best interest usually involves some type of involvement with both parents. When a father seeks to establish paternity, he can usually be assured of custody or visitation with his child, which can have a positive impact on the child's life. Additionally, whether it was the mother or father who sought to determine paternity, doing so can establish legal boundaries that make sure that both parents play a role -- physical, financial or both -- in a child's life.
Source: FindLaw, "Legal Significance of Paternity", Dec. 5, 2014