Bcoming legally recognized as the parent of a child can have a significant emotional and financial repercussions. We can help.
Paternity is defined as the legal identification of a child’s biological father and can be established by any of the three methods below.
Presumption: a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he is legally married to the mother when, or at any time during the previous three hundred days before, the child was born.
Voluntary Acknowledgement: occurs when a man is married to the child’s mother after the child is born and voluntary claims he is the father in the child’s birth certificate, or if during the child’s first two years, the person continuously lives with the child and represents to others that he is the child’s father. Acknowledgement can also be recognized if the father voluntarily signs an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form.
Court Order: a parent, usually the mother of the child, can ask the court for an order to establish paternity over a child. A child’s grandparents (if the mother is deceased), a man presumed to be the child’s father, the child’s guardian, an agency that may have custody of the child, or the child itself can also petition the court to help establish a child’s paternity. Through a court order a judge can rule any of the following:
- That the alleged father either is, or is not, the legal father of the child
- Custody of the child
- Visitation, either supervised or un-supervised
- Child Support payments, which can be retroactive to when the child was born up to two years
- Health care, including medical insurance, payments
- Change in the child’s legal last name to that of the father
Even if the court has ruled that you a peson is the legal father of a child, but they are certain that they are not the parent, we can file a motion on their behalf to ask the court to perform a simple genetic test to conclusively decide. These test are ninety-nine percent reliable and accepted as definite proof of paternity by the court. If the test comes back as negative then the person will be excused as the parent and will have to fill out several forms to ensure that there is no further relationship between the person and the child.
Being legally recognized as the father of a child can have a significant emotional and financial repercussions. It is important for a person to obtain legal counsel immediately so they can understand what paternity truly means and what are their responsibilities as a parent. Call us so we can walk you through these uncertain times and make sure that everyone’s rights and wishes are being respected.