Establishing the paternity of a child can be important for knowing health conditions the child may have or inherit, or simply for legal purposes. Commonly, the man in a marriage is deemed to be the father of any children born within that marriage. Though, that is not always the case.
If you have questions about paternity rights, you need the support of a compassionate family law firm that can help.
Why Establish Paternity
Paternity is more than whose name is on the birth certificate. In fact, paternity is critical to a father’s legal rights such as inheritance, child support, visitation, and custody rights.
If a man has been acting as the father of a child for many years through financial support as well as performing parental duties, the man has rights called paternity by estoppel.
There are a few other ways paternity is established in Pennsylvania. These include voluntary and involuntary measures such as:
- An Acknowledgment of Paternity form is provided at the hospital at the time of birth
- Acknowledgment of Paternity form is obtained from a county assistance office, a domestic relations office or the department of public welfare, bureau of child support enforcement, or a paternity coordinator
- DNA test
However, if the mother refuses to sign the acknowledgment of paternity forms or hinders the father from a DNA test, there may be room for legal action.
Filing a Complaint For Paternity
When either the mother or father of a child denies paternity, the other parent can file a complaint for paternity with the court. In order for this to be done, the court assigns a judge to the case who will schedule a hearing. From there, the complaint is served to the other parent who then must attend a hearing.
Following the hearings, the judge will determine whether genetic testing is required for the case. A genetic test is not an automatic right, which is why the judge must decide if there is a likelihood the man is actually the father.
In addition, the judge will review any actions made on behalf of the man such as signing the birth certificate which would establish paternity. If the man has, the judge is permitted to dis-establish the paternity prior to the testing. In this case, the plaintiff is responsible for the cost of genetic testing.
However, if the judge does order DNA testing, both parents and the child will be tested. From there, a conference will occur where all parties learn the results. This will establish whether the man is or is not the father.
Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. Fights For Your Paternity Rights
When it comes to establishing paternity rights, the courtroom can be difficult to navigate, especially when tensions are high. But it’s important to know that you have legal rights to the child.
If you are in need of legal counsel surrounding paternity rights or do not believe the mother of the child is not being honest with you, you need legal protection. Contact the family law attorney Craig Kalinoski today for a free consultation.