Paternity determinations can have significant legal and emotional implications. Because important issues such as child support can be based on paternity determinations, some people may wonder what paternity is and how it is determined? Paternity refers to the paternal parentage of a child or, in other words, the identity of the biological father of a child.
For children born in wedlock, paternity is presumed. The biological father is presumed to be the husband of the mother of the child. For children who are not born to married parents, paternity may be established but is not presumed. A determination of paternity can provide important emotional and financial support for children. Child support is one of the most obvious implications for the establishment of paternity, however, establishing paternity can also be useful for custody and visitation; inheritance; and healthcare issues.