Monday, August 26, 2013

Establishing Legal Paternity

Paternity is defined as the state of being someone's father. With advancements in science, it is easier and more accurate than ever before to establish paternity. DNA testing methods, including SWAB Tests and DNA Genetic Identity tests are reasonably priced and available at a growing number of locations.

At common law, a child born to the wife during a marriage is the husband's child under the "presumption of legitimacy," and the husband is then assigned complete rights, duties and obligations to the child. This presumption, however, can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. In the case of a female who is unmarried, a male can accept the paternity of the child. Alternatively the mother can appeal to the court for a final determination if she is unsatisfied with the outcome. The outcome is identical, regardless of how the paternity was determined, i.e. voluntarily, administratively or court ordered. With every case, the legal father is defined as the biological donor. If both parents approve who the genetic father is, an easy procedure that doesn't require a legal intervention can be used to recognize paternity. This process is called voluntary paternity establishment. Once paternity is legally determined, it is very challenging to contest. If paternity is in question, it is best to challenge paternity prior to acknowledgement.

Anyone can try and prove paternity, be it the mother, father, and depending on circumstances, the child. While paternity is most commonly established before trial, the outcome will go on to have an effect on proceedings. Complaints and legal petitions to establish paternity are now oftentimes routinely agreed to by all parties before entering trial. If a child is born to two unmarried people, by law the child does not have a father. Without proper legal action, the identity of the father can ultimately remain an unknown. However it's recommended by most lawyers and legal courts to pursue and discover the father figure. There are a number of reasons to establish paternity, including issues related to custody and child support. In general, similar rules that apply to child support in divorce cases, also apply to child support in paternity cases. Either party can be forced to pay child support to the other. Some courts will also require child support to be paid for a specific number of years, possibly back to the birth date of the child. Once the father figure has established paternal rights, he can legally be a part of the child's life.

Legal procedures and laws differ from state to state for defining paternity. If the both parties cannot agree on basic paternity issues, both should seek the counsel of an attorney and become informed about their rights as parents of a child.