When opposite-sex couples share a child, the father’s parental rights are not always established automatically. Instead, there is a process known as establishing paternity that these parents might have to go through.
When you have questions about paternity rights, speak with a dedicated family attorney at Addair Law. Our attorneys could help either parent pursue a formal determination of the father’s identity. A Lincoln County paternity lawyer could answer your questions and walk you through this process.
Understanding Parental Rights
A person must be legally recognized as a child’s parent to have the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. There are different ways to obtain these rights, and these methods differ for mothers compared to fathers.
Legal recognition as a parent does not extend every right available; it allows a parent to seek certain custody rights. Some parents are recognized legally as the parents of a child but lack any rights related to custody or visitation.
That said, establishing paternity is the first step for any parent who lacks these rights. A qualified paternity attorney in Lincoln County could assist with this pursuit.
Options for Establishing Paternity
There are multiple ways to determine the identity of a child’s biological father. Establishing paternity could be voluntary or through legal proceedings.
Voluntarily Establishing Paternity
Many parents opt to conclude paternity disputes voluntarily. When parents are married, there is a presumption that the husband is the father. Even without that presumption, both parties can execute legal documents acknowledging the father’s identity.
Parents use an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, which is often executed at the hospital shortly after the birth of a child. However, it is possible to complete this documentation at a later date. Both parties can sign a Paternity Consent Form for Birth Registration until the child reaches the age of 18.
In either case, both parents must agree. Legal action is necessary if one or both sides cannot agree on the question of paternity.
Relying on the Courts
Sometimes, parents cannot voluntarily agree on the issue. This might be because the relationship is so frayed that they cannot discuss the matter civilly. It may also occur when an individual does not believe they are the father of a child. In these cases, paternity disputes fall to the courts.
Either party can petition the court to determine the biological father’s identity. After the petition is filed, the court will order a DNA test. If the results indicate a biological relationship, an order establishing paternity will be entered.
An experienced paternity establishment lawyer in Lincoln County could help either party identify paternity in court.
Call a Lincoln County Paternity Attorney Today
Establishing paternity is an essential issue for parents and children alike. This legal determination allows for establishing custody rights, and it can provide vital family health information to the child.
When facing a paternity dispute, you can seek legal counsel. A Lincoln County paternity lawyer could assist you with every stage of this process. Call Addair Law today to speak with a member of our team.