When a child is born outside of marriage, there are steps that must be taken in order for a father’s rights and responsibilities to kick in. Establishing paternity is the process of formally recognizing a child’s male biological parent, and it is the first step for that person to gain parental rights.
When you are involved in a parentage dispute, seek help from a dedicated child custody attorney right away. Your rights are important, and a Buckhead paternity lawyer can help you protect them.
When the parents of a minor child are unmarried, there are two important legal issues to understand. In addition to establishing fatherhood, there is another step known as legitimation. A paternity attorney in Buckhead can advise you of the difference between the two.
Paternity is the process through which the biological father of a minor child is identified. Not only is this a formal acknowledgment of a parent’s identity, but it also leads to all of the obligations that come with being a parent. Specifically, this process obligates the father to pay child support even when they have no parental rights.
While establishing paternity can result in obligations for the father, legitimation can lead to parental rights. When the father is legitimate, they have the opportunity to petition for child custody or visitation from the court. The judge will not automatically grant these requests; instead, the family court will consider the child’s best interests when deciding.
There are different methods for establishing a father’s identity according to state law. Some of these options involve the spouses working together, while others are more litigious in nature. The guidance of a paternity attorney in Buckhead is valuable for any of these approaches.
Many parents do not need to take additional steps for the father to be formally recognized. This is because of a presumption in the law regarding married couples. When a mother is married at the time she gives birth, there is a presumption that the husband is the father. However, either party can rebut this by producing evidence to the contrary.
Even when a presumption is not in place, there is another option for establishing paternity between parents who are on the same page. Both parents can voluntarily acknowledge the identity of the father. This is often done in the hospital shortly after a baby’s birth using a document known as a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
It may be necessary to have a judge decide the issue when the people involved disagree on the father’s identity or in cases where the relationship between the parents is contentious. In this scenario, either person has the right to petition the family court to determine the fatherhood of a minor child. Once the petition is filed, the family law judge will typically order both the man and the child to submit to DNA testing. This involves taking a swab from the inside of their mouths. The results are compared and reported back to the judge. If there is a DNA match, the judge will issue an order of paternity.
Without clarifying his identity as a child’s biological father, a man cannot petition to have any rights related to their children. Confirming the father’s identity also gives a child an opportunity to learn about that side of their family and its medical history, as well as providing them with the chance to inherit from their father.
Determining the identity of a minor child’s father is crucial for many reasons. It provides them with a sense of identity and can answer questions about their health or heritage.
When you are considering legal action to answer this vital question, reach out to a Buckhead paternity lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our team to set up a consultation.