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Because children have certain rights when it comes to the support of both their parents, establishing fatherhood can be extremely important. If you need help establishing the paternity of your child, the legal system can help. A Short Hills paternity lawyer could help you take legal action to determine your child’s father and claim your right to child support.
Alternatively, if you want to assert your parental rights as a father, you may need help establishing paternity first. Our team is ready to assist you in answering any crucial questions ou may have about this process.
By law, every child has a right to support from both parents. Therefore, a single mother may be able to receive financial support for her child after a finding of legal paternity. Once lawfully established, paternity also allows a child certain benefits in addition to financial support. The child would be entitled to inheritance from the father, for instance, and social security and veteran’s benefits. From the father’s perspective, this determination allows visitation and a chance to maintain a relationship with their child.
State law presumes that when a married woman gives birth, her husband is the father of the child. Additionally, this holds if the child is born within ten months of the mother’s divorce or the death of her husband. For a child conceived outside the marriage or if the parents are not married, there are two ways to establish fatherhood.
When a child is born, and the parents are married, the father’s name goes on the birth certificate. If the parents are unmarried or for some reason the father’s name is not on the birth certificate, a man can voluntarily acknowledge parenthood by signing a Certificate of Parentage (COP) and filing it with the Department of Health. This is the most direct way to establish paternity.
If a man marries his child’s mother after the birth, he still must file an acknowledgment of paternity in writing with the state registrar. If he has his name added to the birth certificate or agrees to pay child support, these actions might also give rise to a presumption of paternity.
When fatherhood is in doubt, it is necessary to file an action in court. The child, their mother or legal guardian, the county welfare agency, or any man who believes he is the father can file a paternity action. A lawyer in Short Hills could help any of these parties file a paternity action. If a man refuses to acknowledge that they are the father, a court may order genetic testing. State law sets out factors a court may consider in deciding whether to order DNA testing.
Regardless of whether you are the mother or father of a child, there are many important reasons for establishing paternity. Our team of Short Hills paternity lawyers could further explain these reasons and help you through this complex legal process. To get started on your case, call today.