From child support to custody and visitation, establishing paternity is vital to many family law issues. The rights and responsibilities of a father are only formally recognized after a child’s paternity has been established.
Whether you are the mother or the father or a minor child, you have the right to seek a formal determination of paternity from the court. This process is not always contentious, but having the support of experienced legal counsel can be beneficial to your family’s best interests. Let a Roswell paternity lawyer from our firm advise you on your options.
While paternity actions are frequently filed by a potential father of the child, other individuals also have the same rights. The mother of a minor child is able to petition the court for a finding of paternity. This usually involves a court-ordered DNA test for the potential father and the child.
Other interested parties could also have the right to petition the court. This specifically applies to the legal guardians of a child when they are not in the mother’s custody. For example, maternal grandparents with legal guardianship could pursue a petition with the court to legally determine the identity of the father.
Additionally, if the mother of the child, or another legal caregiver receives public assistance for the child, or applies for child support services from the state’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), the agency itself may also file a paternity action. If you are unsure of whether you have the legal ability to bring a paternity petition forward, reach out to our team of attorneys for individualized guidance.
There are different ways the parents of a minor child could address the issue of paternity. In many cases, both sides are able to work together amicably to determine the identity of a child’s father. In fact, there are times when the law makes a presumption about the father’s identity automatically. For example, there is a presumption that a husband is the father of their wife’s child if they give birth during the course of the marriage. That said, rebutting this presumption and proving someone else is the biological father is possible.
It is also possible for the parents to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. This is often done by having both parents sign the birth certificate at the hospital immediately after a child is born. However, parents can also acknowledge paternity later in the child’s life.
Legal action may become necessary when the parents do not see eye to eye. With the help of a Roswell paternity attorney, either parent could file a motion with the court asking for a DNA test. If the test reflects a biological match, the judge will enter an order of paternity.
Paternity and legitimation are often confused with each other. However, there are important differences between these terms and the legal rights they convey. Establishing paternity means the father of a minor child has been legally recognized. In this scenario, the obligations of being a parent are attached, but the same is not true for many of the rights. A father only gains parental rights such as custody and visitation after legitimation.
Matters of paternity and parental rights can be legally and emotionally complex. If you have questions about the process of establishing or refuting the identity of the father of a child in your life, our team can advise you of your options. Contact a Roswell paternity lawyer from the Atlanta Divorce Law Group for dedicated guidance.