Union County Paternity Lawyer
Paternity is the term courts use to describe someone’s legal status as the biological father of a minor child. While paternity is exclusively related to a child’s biological father, it is important to note that other individuals in a parental role may also be able establish custodial rights to a child.
Establishing paternity or custodial rights is a necessary part of any child custody case. To enforce parental rights and obligations, the court must formally recognize an individual’s paternity or deem them to have custodial rights. This process can become contentious and is typically much easier when relying on the guidance of a skilled family attorney. Let a Union County paternity lawyer help you assert your parental rights.
Ways to Establish Paternity in Union County
If the mother of a newborn child is married when she gives birth, the law presumes her husband is the father of the newborn baby. Because of this presumption, establishing paternity between married couples is often straightforward. However, this presumption is not always accurate. For example, evidence of an affair might be enough to challenge this presumption and require an investigation into the true biological father’s identity.
Outside of the presumption of paternity that married couples enjoy, there are two other ways to establish paternity. First, it is possible for two parents to voluntarily establish paternity by signing a certificate acknowledging the biological father’s identity. While this certificate is often completed in the hospital after a child’s birth, parents can also later sign this document at a county registrar or welfare office.
If the two parties cannot agree on the question of paternity, the court has the power to order a DNA test. The alleged father and child must both submit DNA samples to a lab for analysis. This lab will determine whether there is a DNA link. If it is clear from the samples that the two are related, the court will issue an order establishing paternity. A Union County attorney can listen to a family’s concerns to determine the best approach to establishing paternity.
Establishing Custodial Rights to a Non-Biological Child
If a someone is not the biological father of a child they have not legally adopted but has been considered a father-figure to the child, the most common way to establish custodial rights to a child is by establishing the parent as the psychological parent. A psychological parent will have the same right to parent a child as a biological parent. To establish psychological parenthood, the psychological parent must satisfy a four-part test:
- The biological or adoptive parent must have consented to and fostered the formation of a parent-like relationship with the child
- The psychological parent and the child must have resided together in the same household
- The psychological parent must have assumed the obligations of parenthood
- The psychological parent has been in a parental role for a length of time sufficient to have established a bonded, dependent relationship that is parental in nature
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Not only does formally recognizing the identity of the biological father benefit parents, but it also provides important value for their child. First and foremost, establishing paternity allows a child access to child support and the right to inherit from their father. Knowing the identity of their biological father could also provide a child with useful insight into any hereditary health risks or conditions.
Parents also benefit from establishing paternity. Without formally establishing a biological father’s identity, it is impossible for the mother to seek child support. A father may also be unable to pursue child custody or visitation rights with a child until they have established paternity. With proof of paternity, a biological father gains all the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. As such, establishing paternity is an important step in any child custody case that a Union County family lawyer can provide vital assistance with completing.
Call a Union County Paternity Attorney Today
If you are involved in a paternity dispute, it is vital to seek legal support. Experienced legal counsel can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case, whether that be securing child support from your child’s father or asserting your right to visitation. Call Moskowitz Law Group to learn how a Union County paternity lawyer can help your family.