In Nebraska, the husband of a mother giving birth is the legally presumptive father. If the mother is not married, then the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services explains that extra steps are necessary in order for the biological father to become the legal father.
A genetic connection automatically exists, and a parent-child relationship may develop, but the child does not have access to all the benefits that the father can provide until he establishes paternity.
The father may contribute financially to the child’s needs, but until he is the legal father, he is under no obligation to help. After establishing paternity, the parents can request a child support order calculated based on the state’s formula for what a child needs.
The father can obtain health insurance for his child once he has legally become a parent. If the insurance plan is already in place, he may contribute to that plan. Fathers can also purchase life insurance policies and name their children as beneficiaries.
Many types of benefits that a parent may receive, such as Social Security Disability benefits and veterans benefits, may also designate payments for the child of the recipient. To be eligible, though, the child must be the legal dependent.
If the mother dies and the father has not established his parental rights, he will not necessarily be the guardian of the child. That role is likely to go to the next of kin, such as the mother’s parent or sibling.
If the father dies suddenly without a will, his estate goes through intestate succession and passes to his family, which does not include his child unless he has established paternity.
When it comes to fatherhood, making the relationship legal is worth it.