When you have a child with someone you’re not married to, it’s vital to establish paternity for a number of reasons. Whether you’re a father or mother looking to establish paternity for a child, knowing how to proceed is crucial. However, you may discover that this process can be overwhelming, as there are many legal implications to consider. Keep reading to learn what you must do and how a Monroe, Louisiana family law attorney can help you through this complex process.
What Does Paternity Establishment Mean?
If you are looking to establish paternity, it’s essential to understand what this process means.
Generally, when a man and woman have children when they are not married may want to establish a biological and legal relationship between the man and the child. This creates legal rights and obligations the father will fulfill for his child.
This process is beneficial for all parties involved. The child is able to have a relationship and know the identity of both parents. Similarly, knowing the medical history of both parents is essential for children, as it can help their doctors look for pre-existing conditions.
For mothers, paternity can help them receive the support necessary to raise a child if they are not with the child’s father. This includes child support and help to make decisions regarding medical care and schooling.
For fathers, this process allows them to receive legal rights in relation to the child. This helps them fight for custody, as well as to put their name on the birth certificate.
How Can I Establish Paternity?
There are two main ways in which you can establish paternity if you and your child’s other parent are not married. Unless otherwise stated, married couples have assumed paternity, meaning the husband is automatically written down as the father.
One option for couples who are not married is to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This form is easy to complete and can be filled out in the hospital following the birth of the child, at the Central Vital Records, a child support office, or via mail.
The other option is to pursue court proceedings to file a suit with the state. Whether you’re a mother looking to hold the father responsible for child support, or a father who wishes to receive custody of his child, this often happens when the paternity of the child is contested. The courts will order a DNA test of the father and child, and generally, if there is a 95% match or higher, paternity is granted.
When you need help establishing the paternity of your child, Breithaupt, Dubos, & Wolleson can help. Our dedicated legal team will do everything in our power to help you navigate this complex and often highly contentious time. Contact us today to discuss the details of your circumstances with a member of our professional firm.