Depending on the circumstances, a paternity test could establish the father's rights and/or the mother's rights, as well as the rights of the child. There are several ways to establish paternity. One is that a married couple has a child; both biological parents are immediately considered the legal parents. If a couple marries after having a child, then paternity is established retroactively. When parents are unmarried, fatherhood is not presumed. This means the father could lose vital rights and responsibilities, such as visitation and providing care. The child can lose out on such things as his or her rightful inheritance.
Maybe a mother is struggling with substance abuse and is a danger to the child. Perhaps a father is denied visitation rights and the responsibility of caring for a child. These are all reasons for a father to take a paternity test and protect his rights as well as those of his child. If a father is failing to provide child support, or if someone is claiming that he is the father, a paternity test could protect children in this manner as well.
Unmarried couples can sign an affidavit of parentage, or the matter can be brought before a court through a paternity lawsuit. The affidavit of parentage is something that is often signed at the hospital after the birth of a child. Both parents willingly choose to affirm that they are the parents by signing this sworn statement in front of witnesses. If the father signs, then he is affirming that he is both the biological and legal father. His name will be put on the birth certificate. The mother will have custody, but a legal father can ask for a modified custody order in court. This also means that he might have to make child support payments. As for the child, he or she will have full inheritance rights and can obtain a full medical history through both family lines.
This affidavit does not have to be signed immediately. It can be done after a DNA test. If there are any reservations, it is best to wait until you are ready. The affidavit can be signed later at a Vital Records or Child Support office.
Apart from an affidavit, paternity can be established in a trial. Either parent can bring a paternity action to court, or Child Support Services may want to enforce support from both parents. In trial, a judge determines whether or not a man is the legal and biological father, and can order genetic tests to do so. If the paternity test results in a 97 percent probability of the man being the father, then the judge establishes paternity.
If you need legal advice about you and your child's rights or whether or not you need a paternity test, do not wait to contact Hopper Law Firm, PLLC. A Raleigh divorce lawyer can help safeguard your family's rights through skilled and passionate representation. Call us today!