Fatherhood: Introduction to Paternity


The “paternity” refers to the determination of who is the father of a child. While the identity of the biological mother of a child tends to be, by nature, easy to determine, the identity of the father can in some cases be uncertain. The issue of paternity often arise in cases involving child support, but may also be important in relation to adoption, inheritance, custody and visitation, medical care and others.

Actions to establish paternity in a court of law

An action to establish paternity is a civil proceeding. Most states require that paternity be established by a standard of “preponderance of the evidence”, which means that it must be more likely that the man is the father of the child. In other states, such as New York, applies a standard which requires clear and convincing evidence of paternity. Now, in reality, the different standards have little practical impact to the development of the latest scientific evidence.

The DNA test and paternity

The advent of DNA profiling was a fundamental discovery for the DNA testing. In a DNA test, the scientist examines the genetic material that the child inherited from its biological parents. First, we compare the genetic characteristics of the child with the mother. It is determined that the features that are not found in the mother must come from the father. If the man that you are analyzing does not have those genetic characteristics in his DNA, can be excluded scientifically. In the event that it has, it calculates the probability of his paternity. The DNA testing can establish paternity of a father with a ninety nine per cent accuracy. DNA testing can be done even before the baby is born.

How to establish paternity

The DNA tests are usually done when one party refutes the allegations of paternity. For example, in a procedure that works as the basis for the collection of child support, the putative father (or “alleged”) may require a test of who is the father of the child before you give your consent to pay for the livelihood. In other cases, the mother may contest the paternity of the putative father, as when a man tries to get custody or visitation of a child he believes is his son. In many other cases, there is a discussion between the parents and the paternity is established voluntarily. Paternity also may be established by circumstantial evidence, as when a man takes the child to his home and presents him to the society as his own son. It is presumed that a married man is the father of a baby from his wife that was born during or shortly after their marriage.

Once paternity is established, you can ordenársele the father to pay the child support of his son. Usually, you will not be granted custody of a child to a father who is not married to the mother of this if she provides you with reasonable care, but may be preferred before a third party, such as grandparents or prospective adoptive parents.

Issues on paternity, as most of the family issues, may have implications for long-term, both in the economic aspect as emotional. When faced with these issues, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney objective and experienced.

Parenting: How to get the help of an attorney

If you are facing a potential disputes on the issue of paternity, a lawyer specializing in family law can help you with a fair representation of the parties in the process. A lawyer specializing in family law will work to obtain the best possible result. The first step is to find a lawyer specializing in family law in your area.

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