The social and legal determination between a father and his child to prove the parental relationship is known as paternity. The father has a duty to protect and support his child. Paternity doesnâ€™t only apply to married couples; it can exist outside the marriage as well. Moreover, it can exist by natural birth, assisted reproduction, or adoption. In any case, the responsibilities of the father towards his child remain the same.
According to common law, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child born in a marriage, which in a majority of the cases holds true, and paternity doesnâ€™t need to be proved in court. On the other hand, when a child is born from an unmarried couple, it becomes essential to establish paternity right after the birth. This protects the father, the baby, and the mother, along with their rights with regard to one another, including support, visitation, and inheritance.
However, in either case, if there is sufficient evidence available, the paternity can also be denied within a limited amount of time.
When the paternity is in question, the father, the mother, the child, or any interested party can make an appeal to the court for proving the relationship. This involves a lawsuit filed by either the state or a private party. In most cases, a private action is taken by the mother for getting support to raise the child. The state takes an action when the mother files a lawsuit for public assistance so that the state can be compensated for the support given. This action is done through a prosecutorâ€™s office.
Legal Ways of Establishing Paternity
One of the most accurate ways of determining paternity is through DNA tests. Whether the father denies paternity or he is not completely certain, this test can show the likelihood of him being the biological father. The court requires all three, i.e. the child, the mother, and the father, to get the DNA tests done in order to establish paternity. Since this is a commonly used method, courts facilitate the tests at a lower cost.
Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment
If the father wants to legalize the parental relationship with his child, he is required to sign a paternity order, known as the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. After consenting to the paternity order, the father cannot back out, even if later on evidence comes to light that he is not the biological father. Moreover, by signing this legal document, he is consenting to paternity for his lifetime.
The laws governing the establishment of paternity, along with the responsibilities and rights of all parties involved, are complicated, and things can easily get out of hands. If you are facing difficulty in either proving or disproving paternity, you should seek legal assistance of an experienced and reliable family law attorney. Contact the Casement Group, P.C. today at (847) 888-9300 for a free consultation and evaluate your legal options.