All too often, the law takes something that sounds incredibly simple, and makes it a serious and debatable issue. Paternity is one of them.
What Is Paternity?
Paternity is the legal status as a child's father. While this is simple enough, the realities of life can make it very complex very quickly.
When a child is born, there are numerous situations where the name that gets put on his or her birth certificate is only a guess, or is deliberately false. Because of the unreliability of the father's name as it appears on a child's birth certificate, the law requires something more for someone to be considered a child's father. If this was all that was required, then lots of men would be put in some shocking positions.
Therefore, the law requires that paternity be proven in other ways, some of which are voluntary, and some of which are involuntary.
While the most common way to voluntarily prove paternity is by being married to the mother of a child, there are numerous other ways for you to voluntarily show that you are the child's father:
- By marrying the child's mother soon after the child is born, and then by either signing a legitimation form, having your name put on the child's birth certificate, or by agreeing to support the child,
- By not marrying the child's mother, but signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity Form that claims your status as the child's father,
- By taking the child in and holding it out to others as your own, or by developing a close, parent / child relationship and having a court grant you custody rights over the child, or
- By attempting to marry the mother of the child when it was born or conceived.
Any one of these methods legally establishes a man as being a child's father. Therefore, even if you are the child's biological father, if someone else follows through on one of these actions, they may be granted paternity, rather than you.
Paternity can also be established involuntarily. The child's mother can bring a paternity lawsuit against someone who might be the child's father, requiring him to appear in court and submit to DNA testing. If the DNA test shows that he is the child's father, then the court can decree that he is the father, and may order him to pay child support.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you would like to determine paternity in your case, it is imperative that you contact a skilled attorney for help. The legal professionals at the Bombardo Law Office are prepared to assist you in your pursuit today. Contact or call (315)488-5544