When an opposite-sex married couple has a baby together, the male partner is presumed under state law to be the child’s father. When unmarried people have children, though, establishing paternity in the eyes of the state court system can be a bit more complicated, especially if the presumptive father does not believe they are biologically related to the child in question or does not wish to be identified as such.
In this kind of situation, guidance from a seasoned family attorney who has helped other families resolve similar issues can be crucial to protecting both your child’s best interests and your own. Once retained, a Manhattan paternity lawyer could provide the custom-tailored expertise and assistance you may need to prove paternity and get the rights and benefits you and your child are entitled to.
How Does a Paternity Action Work?
Under Kansas Statutes §23-2208, there are five situations under which a man may be presumed to be a child’s biological father:
- The man and the child’s mother are or were legally married at or within 300 days prior to the child’s birth
- The man and the child’s mother attempted or were attempting to legally marry within the aforementioned period of time
- The man acknowledges paternity in writing, consensually is named as the child’s father on their birth certificate, or has a court-ordered obligation to support the child in question
- The man acknowledges himself as the child’s father and undertakes the appropriate procedures to identify himself as such on their birth certificate after their birth
- A DNA test shows a 97 percent chance that the man is the child’s biological father
Unmarried prospective fathers must have court-established paternity, which can be obtained through a civil proceeding that generally involves DNA testing. To successfully challenge a presumption of paternity based on any of the aforementioned grounds, the petitioning party must provide “clear and convincing evidence” showing that the presumption is incorrect. A Manhattan paternity attorney could offer further clarification as needed about how this kind of proceeding generally progresses.
Father’s Rights and Obligations
First and foremost, establishing paternity can be crucial to ensuring that a child born to parents who are no longer together gets the child support payments they are entitled to from both their biological parents. This is in addition to various other financial and personal benefits that mother and child may derive from determining who the child’s father is, potentially including access to healthcare benefits and inheritance.
On the flip side, paternity may grant a child’s biological father the right to participate in decisions regarding their child’s healthcare, education, and religious and social upbringing. Establishing paternity can also allow a father to seek parenting time with their child and possibly claim the child as a dependent on their income taxes. A paternity lawyer in Manhattan could provide further clarification about the effects that a court order affirming paternity could have in a particular situation.
Get in Touch with a Manhattan Paternity Attorney
Paternity hearings can be contentious and emotionally exhausting affairs. Even proceedings that everyone involved is in favor of pursuing can still be legally complex. No matter what circumstances lead up to a paternity case, guidance from seasoned legal counsel can be key to getting through one smoothly and proactively.
A seasoned Manhattan paternity lawyer could work on your behalf to defend your rights and help you achieve your goals. Reach out to our office today to learn more about what we could do for you.