There are a variety of instances that may require paternity to be determined. The most common case typically involves parents who were not married to each other.
The importance of determining paternity
A paternity action establishes the parentage of a child. Establishing parentage means determining who are the legal parents of a child. Parentage must be established before a court can order visitation, custody, or child support for a child whose parents were unmarried at the time of his or her birth. There are many legal, financial, and ethical issues, and they can be overwhelming for all parties involved. If the parties cannot agree on parentage, the court can order genetic testing. If DNA tests show that you are the biological parent of the child in question, you can be held financially responsible. This means you may be paying child support. You also have rights to custody of your child.
Circumstances in which paternity is presumed
The are a variety of circumstances in which paternity of a child is presumed, without a declaration of paternity. If the child’s parents were married during their birth or conception, if the parents attempted to get married before the child’s birth, or if the man has given permission to be named as the father on the child’s birth certificate, then paternity is often assumed. Also, cases in which the father has been ordered to support the child or has allowed for the child to live with him (as his natural son or daughter for some time) typically result in paternity being presumed by the courts.
Understanding a voluntary declaration of paternity
There are cases which can be more complicated in nature, such as those that involve a man signing a voluntary declaration of paternity only to find out that he may not actually be the biological father of the child. In these situations, the court must determine whether or not the man is legally the father and if the voluntary declaration of paternity is to be set aside or upheld.
Richard E. Bawden and Robert A. Kochis are experienced in the area of parental rights. They have worked on a number of cases involving the determination of paternity and can assist you in protecting your rights and achieving the legal outcome your deserve. If you would like more information, please call or email for a consultation.