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How To Establish Paternity

How To Establish Paternity

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity in a child custody case can be as simple as having the father sign a written admission or voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. All states have programs that allow unmarried parents to acknowledge the fathers paternity. States are also taxed with the duty to help parents acknowledge paternity until the child is eighteen years of age through vital records offices. Some states may use other offices that are designated in charge of paternity. A child support lawyer can help you navigate the different requirements in your state.

child support attorney and establishing paternityPaternity may have to be established in a court of law or at an administrative hearing. A child support lawyer can help you in court. In some states a man can be named by default if he was notified of a paternity hearing and failed to appear.  In court, if the man who signed the acknowledgment of paternity does not deny that he is the child’s father within 60 days, he is found to be legally the child’s father. Once this finding has been entered into record, it can only be changed if the man claims that he signed it on the basis of fraud, or duress. A father may also challenge it if he believed at the time that he signed the paper that he was the child’s father, but was mistaken.

Paternity and Child Support

Establishing the child’s paternity is the first step in creating a basis for an obligation to pay child support. If the man can show that he is not the child’s father, then in most states he is not obligated to pay for the support of the child. If the parents are not married, the only way to begin a support order is to have paternity established. If a man is not sure that he is the father of the child, he can request that a paternity genetic test be performed to determine paternity. A genetic test is simple and does not cause pain to either the parent or the child. They are considered highly accurate.

Paternity and Life Long-Bonding

It is important for a mother of a newborn to have paternity established as soon after the baby is born as possible. It is for the child’s protection in the future. Even if the parents plan to marry after the baby is born, it is important to have the paternity documented. Having a paternity test creates a bond between the father and child that will show the child that his father supports him or her.

Once a paternity bond is established, the child has legal rights associated with that parentage. The child may have legal inheritance rights. If the father dies, the child may have rights to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits or to social security or veterans benefits. Your child support lawyer can help with this process.  Children need more than the monetary benefits associated with being claimed by a father. Children benefit most when paternity is established by having a sense of identity.

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