West Caldwell Paternity Lawyer
Having certainty about a child’s paternity is greatly beneficial to both parents and children. Besides clarifying someone’s rights and responsibilities toward the child, knowing a father’s name and medical history could be critical information for the child to have someday. In addition, legal acknowledgment means that a child could receive financial support for the father, be a covered dependent on the father’s health insurance, be entitled to social security benefits if the father dies before the child comes of age, and inherit property from the father if the father predeceases the children.
If you are looking for clarity on the paternity of a child for any reason, whether you are the mother or the alleged father, a West Caldwell paternity lawyer can help you understand your legal options. A knowledgeable family attorney at Williams Law Group can explain the process of confirming paternity and walk you through your next steps.
When is Paternity Assumed?
There are certain situations where New Jersey law assumes that a particular man is the father of a specific child. If a child is born while two people are married, the law presumes the husband is the child’s father. The law still makes this assumption if the father dies no more than 300 days before a child’s birth or if the parents get a divorce within that timeframe.
The state sometimes assumes paternity even if the parents are not married when the child is born. A man who lists his name on the child’s birth certificate will be presumed to be the father, and a man can establish that he is the father by signing a Certificate of Parentage. A man could acknowledge paternity by paying child support or making a written claim of paternity and filing it with the New Jersey State Registrar.
A man is considered the legal father if he legally adopts a child or if his wife undergoes artificial insemination with his consent. However, a licensed physician must perform the insemination procedure. A paternity lawyer in West Caldwell can provide more guidance as to when paternity is assumed and when it must be established.
Establishing Paternity in West Caldwell
Sometimes, there is a need to establish that a certain man is or is not a specific child’s father. New Jersey Revised Statutes §9-17-45 provides a legal means to do this. The law allows legal action to determine whether a parent-child relationship exists.
As a West Caldwell paternity attorney can explain, a court will hear a petition to establish the existence of a parent/child relationship if the:
- Husband or ex-husband questions whether he is the father of a child of the marriage
- Mother needs child support and must establish paternity to get it
- Child wishes to know the identity of his or her father
- Biological father wishes legal rights to the child
- New Jersey Department of Human Services or county welfare agency wishes to pursue reimbursement from a father for services a child received
- Estate of either parent wishes to confirm paternity
If parties cannot agree on paternity, the court can order a DNA test to establish it. The mother, father, and child must take the test. If the DNA results confirm a man is the child’s father, he is legally obligated to provide for the child, even if he continues to disclaim paternity.
Rights and Obligations That Come with Paternity
Paternity comes with rights and responsibilities. Once a man is recognized as a child’s legal father, he has an obligation to support the child. A court could order him to pay child support and take actions such as garnishing his wages if he is not up to date with payments.
Similarly, a welfare agency could require a father to reimburse them if they have provided healthcare or other services to the child. The father could be ordered to add the child to his health insurance if the mother does not have coverage.
However, New Jersey law also requires that fathers have an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with their children. In most cases, a father will have the right to participate in child-rearing and be heard when making decisions about education, religion, healthcare, and other fundamental matters. A father will be entitled to visitation with the child and may share custody with the mother. New Jersey law gives biological fathers significant opportunities to develop an emotional bond with their children.
Work with a Dedicated West Caldwell Paternity Attorney
Paternity is a fundamental relationship that comes with certain legal rights as well as obligations. However, establishing paternity and understanding the legal intricacies of a paternal relationship can be tricky without legal guidance.
Our West Caldwell paternity lawyers at Williams Law Group have experience handling these matters with sensitivity and without judgment. If you or someone you know has a question regarding establishing or disestablishing paternity, call the Williams Law Group, today to learn more about how we can assist you.