Your Rights as a Parent
If a child is born to parents who are not married at the time, paternity can only be established through the courts. This area of the law is evolving and changing as surrogacy and three parent situations become increasingly common. Paternity is the legal way to establish that a man is a child's father, a woman is a child's mother or that an individual, under special circumstances, has a right to parent a child. Establishing paternity can be an important element in child custody and child support decisions. Attorney Anne B. Howard handles this issue for both parents with experience and fairness, while taking into account the welfare of the child.
Unless you establish paternity, you have no legal rights as a parent. By establishing paternity and obtaining a court order regarding legal custody, you gain the right to make decisions for your minor child regarding their care, well-being, and education. Only by establishing paternity and obtaining a court order can you ensure that you gain physical custody, visitation, and a child custody sharing plan. Once paternity is established, the child has the legal right to receive financial support, medical insurance, and other benefits from you.
Conversely, if you are supporting a child that you think may not be your biological offspring, a simple DNA test can help you avoid paying child support. It is important to act quickly and as soon as possible after the child is born in this case or you may be held liable for support throughtout the child's minority.
Establishing paternity when you are not married can prove beneficial. You may have the right to receive child support from the other parent.
The process of establishing paternity can be more difficult if one party disputes the paternity claim. It can be as simple as both parents signing a Declaration of Paternity form. It is in a child's best interest to reach an agreement and avoid court battles whenever possible. Attorney Anne B. Howard helps families with practical guidance and experience in doing what is best for the child.