When you are faced with a child custody dispute there is a lot at stake. You don’t want to lose the right to see your children; however, you also don’t want to have to pay child support if the child isn’t yours. Establishing paternity takes away the ‘what if’ questions involved with child custody, parenting time and child support decisions. Once paternity is established, the courts can issue orders to ensure that the child is taken care of financially by both parents.
If you are faced with questions surrounding the paternity of your child, whether you are the alleged father or whether you want the alleged father to step up, then our Minneapolis family lawyers can help.
How is Paternity Established?
There are two ways to establish paternity under the US law:
Recognition of Parentage: this is a document that is filed with the US Department of Health. It is a sworn statement by both of the parents claiming that the named man is the child’s father. A Recognition of Parentage can be signed at any time, provided that the mother is not married to someone else and that the parents are at least 18 years of age. If only one parent has signed it, then the Recognition Of Parentage (ROP) is not valid.
Genetic testing: the scientific approach to establishing paternity is genetic testing, which involves DNA samples and may require a Court Order. If there is a problem determining paternity through the above ROP, if there is more than one man claiming to be the father, or if the alleged father refuses to believe he is the father, then it can be confirmed through a DNA paternity test.
One paternity is established it is a lot easier to move forward with the other issues surrounding the case. However, before you sign anything or demand a DNA test from anyone, it is best to speak to a US paternity lawyer about what this can mean for your rights. Establishing paternity means you and your ex partner can move forward with things such as:
Custody of the child
- Parenting and visitation rights
- Child support payments