Paternity is the legal establishment of fatherhood and defines the rights and obligations of both the father and the child. Issues with paternity can arise in cases involving child support, adoption, inheritance, custody, and visitation. Paternity can be established voluntarily through several methods or involuntarily through a lawsuit. A paternity lawyer from Froerer & Miles in Ogden, UT, can provide support for mothers, fathers, or children involved in a paternity suit. For more information about family law and paternity, contact our office online or call us at (801) 621-2690.
Methods of Establishing Paternity
The most common way of establishing paternity is through marriage. When a child is born to a married couple, the husband is typically the legal father. However, when a child is born to unmarried parents, the process of determining legal paternity is more complex and can require the help of a family law attorney.
However paternity is established, it offers important legal protections and provides necessary rights to both parent and child.
As the father of a child, you can voluntarily assume paternity by signing a legitimation form or a similar agreement drafted by an attorney. It is important to acknowledge paternity in a legal way to ensure you do not lose your rights to another father figure in the future.
The mother of a child can also establish paternity by initiating a paternity lawsuit. In these types of cases, the probable father is required to appear in court. The court will likely conduct a DNA test to determine biological parentage. If the court establishes paternity, the father will be required to pay child support.
Legal Significance of Paternity
However paternity is established, it offers important legal protections and provides necessary rights to both parent and child. The legal significance of established paternity differs for the mother, father, and child.
For the Mother
Paternity determinations are an effective method of securing financial support from the father. However, established paternity can also require the mother to share custody with the father or allow for visitation.
For the Father
Legally established paternity holds the father responsible for his share of support and responsibility. A successful paternity suit can compel an unwilling father to provide financial support. In addition, legal paternity affords the father custody and visitation rights to the child and gives him the opportunity to provide or refuse consent in the event of an adoption.
For the Child
In addition to gaining financial support, a paternity determination affords a variety of rights to the child, including the right to:
- Receive shelter and aid
- Access personal information about familial health history
- Sue for harm or death of the father
- Receive workers’ compensation benefits
Knowing who their father is can also offer a sense of emotional and psychological relief for a child.
Schedule a Consultation
If you need assistance during a paternity suit, our team at Froerer & Miles can help. Our attorneys possess an advanced understanding of family law and can help you navigate the complex legal protocols associated with paternity. To learn more about our family law services, contact our practice online or call (801) 621-2690 today.