What Is Paternity?
Paternity deals with the rights and obligations of the parents when a child is born out of wedlock. There is no requirement to go to court to establish paternity. However, it is advisable to do so to legitimatize the parenthood in case issues arise later. What if there is the subsequent death of a parent and you are attempting to receive social security survivor benefits?
The man has the right to request testing (sometimes the mother chooses to) to show biological evidence of parenthood. In this day and age, the tests are considered very accurate for court purposes although a party can dispute the test results. The test is not necessary, but is available to the parties if it is desired.
What Are Issues Around Paternity?
Issues raised around paternity are basically the same as those in a divorce but not necessarily identical. Whether dealing with paternity or divorce, there has to be a determination of where the child lives, financial and other obligations to the child, and access by the non-custodial parent assuming there is not a form of shared custody.
Usually, the court system is the Magistrate Court system which is located in the same courthouse as the divorce court. While this is not the appropriate forum to discuss the issue, there can be an overlap between the court systems regarding a paternity issue. One can consider child support, extracurricular activities, daycare expense, college, medical insurance, life insurance, unreimbursed medical bills, etc. Usually, a paternity case comes before the court after the child has been given a name by the parent(s). The system has certain twists and turns to it, some are frustrating. For example, if the custodial parent brings an issue to the court concerning financial obligations and the other parent wishes to raise the issue of access to their child, the court will deal with it in that particular case if the custodial parent agrees to that issue coming before the court. If they do not, the other parent must initiate their own case concerning this separate matter.
You have to decide if you need an experienced paternity lawyer to navigate all the “what ifs.” I invite you to call our law firm today at (860) 871-9449 for a free consultation to learn how I can help you.