How is paternity established?
Paternity can be established either voluntarily or involuntarily. You can fill out a voluntary declaration of paternity to acknowledge your child. Paternity can also be determined by a judge in cases where the parents disagree about the child’s parentage.
Why is establishing paternity important?
Establishing paternity is important for the sake of the parent and the child. It gives parents the right to seek custody of their kids and participate in important decisions made on the children’s behalf. It gives children the ability to have a relationship with the parent as well as the right to receive child support to make sure their financial needs are met. Even if two unmarried parents are in total agreement regarding how to share childcare and costs, it is still worth taking the legal steps to establish paternity, as this will give the child access to the father’s insurance and make inheritance easier.
What is a voluntary declaration of paternity?
A voluntary declaration of paternity is a simple form that unmarried parents can sign to establish paternity. It can be signed at the hospital after the birth, or at any time in the future. By signing the declaration, the parents give up the right to paternity testing and a paternity trial.
Can I reverse a voluntary declaration of paternity?
Yes, it is possible to reverse a voluntary declaration of paternity by filing a declaration of paternity rescission. However, this must be done within 60 days of signing the original form.
What happens if paternity is contested?
When a father refuses to acknowledge his child, or when a mother refuses to acknowledge the father, paternity must be established by the court. Either parent can contact the local child support agency to open a case.
How do I get custody/visitation rights?
Once paternity has been established, parents can either work out the details of a custody and visitation agreement with the child’s mother or guardian, or else file a petition with the family court.