Legitimacy and paternity

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
A child is considered legitimate if his or her parents were married at the time he or she was born. If a child's parents aren't married at the time the child is born, the parents should both sign a 'voluntary statement of paternity,' which will place the father's name on the child's birth certificate and legally make him the child's father. A father may establish paternity by signing a statement of paternity or by proving with a blood or DNA (D-N-A) test that he is the child's father. This process can be done on the father's own accord. A mother may establish an alleged father's paternity by taking him to court and proving his paternity with a blood or DNA test. Once paternity has been established, the child may be considered legitimate because he or she now has a legally named biological mother and father. The child is now eligible, in most situations, to collect social security or veteran's benefits if the father dies or becomes ill, and is entitled to his or her share of the father's estate.

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