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  • Kim Grover

Why Paternity Matters

Yesterday Alex was successful in getting social security death benefits for a young child whose father died earlier this year.

The child's mother came to us to help her get a conservatorship for the child because dad had named the child as his sole beneficiary on his 401(k). Dad also named the child as his sole beneficiary on his life insurance. (Having to file for a conservatorship is a prime example of why you do not want to put a minor child down as a beneficiary).

Getting the conservatorship was an easy task, but the the mother asked for help in getting social security benefits for the child based on dad's record. Social security denied her because dad was not listed on the birth certificate. Alex pursued every avenue possible. There was a paternity case in Wayne County years ago, and there was a genetics test, but for some reason the case was dismissed and the order of filiation (proof that dad was dad) was never entered. Getting a copy of the file is a time consuming process due to the pandemic, and Alex did not have time. The social security case would be closed in 30 days if we could not provide the proof that dad was dad.

Alex tried to get a copy of the life insurance policy to show that dad named child beneficiary because she was his child. After strong arming Met Life for information he was told that she was just listed as a non-spouse beneficiary. He tried to get information from Ford regarding the 401(k) and hit a brick wall.

Finally, yesterday, he thought about her health insurance and sure enough, she was listed as his daughter on the health insurance and Social Security approved the claim! Mom will now receive social security benefits for the child while she is a minor.

The point of this story is two-fold. 1. Don't leave these things undone. If you are unmarried and paternity has not been established for your child you need to get this resolved. You don't necessarily need to go to court. You can establish it through an affidavit of parentage. 2. Alex is relentless. He cares about people. He does not give up. He is a great ally to our clients. If you have a paternity issue or any other family law problem, give us a call. We will be in your corner.

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