Family Law

Paternity Proceedings

  1. Testing can be done by blood tests, swab test or by other methods to obtain DNA samples.
  2. These proceedings can be filed by the Mother, Child, supposed Father or Child Support Division of the State.
  3. Generally, testing is paid for by the Father if testing is positive. If the analysis of the testing results negative, the mother then covers the expenses.  The Parties can also agree to the method of payment.
  4. In most States, paternity testing can be Court ordered. The Father, Mother and child can be ordered to comply with analysis.

Parent’s Age: Normally, the age of the parents is not an issue and parents of any age can determine paternity.

Birth Certificate: The Father is shown on the birth certificate if he recognizes paternity on or near the time of the child’s birth. Court can also order the birth certificate to be changed to show the Fathers name.

Naming the Child: At birth, the Mother typically names her child.  If both Mother and Father acknowledge paternity and complete the application for a birth certificate, they can decide the name of the child. A Court can order a name change of the child at any time if the name is not established by any other means.

Custody: Depending on the specifics, custody of a child can be granted to the Father or the Mother in Paternity cases.  Mothers obtain custody more frequently but Fathers are being given custody under certain situations.
 
Visitation:  If the Parties cannot come to an agreement concerning visitation rights, a request can be made to the Court to regulate visitation rights.

Marital Status: Paternity proceedings also take place between married persons where, the husband is not that father or where the husband has fathered a child beyond his marriage.  It is assumed that a child born of a married woman is the child of the husband.  However, this assumption can be proven otherwise by DNA and other evidence.  In some states, parents can sign an "Affidavit of Denial of Paternity" where both agree the Husband is not the child’s Father.

Action by Child: In several states, when a child becomes of age, according to the law, they have another one to five years to seek the establishment of paternity.  It has been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for any attempt to limit the rights of the child to file for paternity.

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