A lot of people know a little bit about paternity matters from reality TV, life experience, or court dramas. However, when you have a paternity issue regarding YOUR kids or your kid’s needs, you need to retain an attorney who knows a lot about paternity matters to protect you and your rights.
There are two basic types of paternity cases.
First, there are the cases where a mother claims that a person is the father, and that person denies it. This type of case is more common but fairly straightforward. Generally, a DNA test is all that is required. Then, we can respond to a lawsuit on your behalf and have you declared not to be the father of the minor child.
Secondly, there are cases where a father is trying to assert his rights and the mother is denying his paternity or denying his rights. This case can be more complex.
There are several means of establishing paternity legally when it is biologically undisputed, or biologically determined by a DNA test.
- Husband presumption. If the parties are married at the time the child is born, there is a rebuttable presumption that her husband is the father. If the parties divorce or the husband dies prior to the birth of the child, it is presumed that the husband is the father.
- Court Order. A case can be brought by either party, or the state where the state is providing support to the child.
- Affidavit of Parentage. The parties can both sign a document legally binding document promising that they are the parents if the mother was not married at the time of conception or birth.
- Birth Certificate.
Whether you are trying to assert your rights, or avoid responsibility it is important to settle paternity issues early. There are time limits on how long you can bring actions to have yourself declared a parent. Further, if you are the legal parent of a child even if you are not the biological father you can be responsible for the support of that child unless you bring an action to clear your name.