Paternity is defined differently in each state throughout the US, but in Idaho, paternity is defined as the legal status of being a father. Legal status gives a father rights and responsibilities to a child, including the right to legal custody and potentially, physical custody and visitation as well. Legal status also might require a father to provide some financial support for the child as well.
If a child is born to a married couple, there is a legal presumption that the husband is the legal father of the child.
However, if two individuals are not married at the time of a child’s birth, the father does not have legal rights and duties to the child automatically, and therefore, paternity must be established. Even if parents live together or plan to marry at some future date, paternity should be established in order for the child and both parents to secure certain rights.
Establishing paternity can be time sensitive. In some situations, steps can and absolutely should be taken even prior to the child’s birth.