Family law: Paternity
Paternity is establishing the natural or biological father of a child. Generally, if a child is born during a marriage or within ten months of divorce or the mother’s husband’s death, the father of the child is presumed to be the mother’s husband. In some cases, it can be difficult to know the father of a child, which then requires the establishment of paternity.
Paternity can be established legally in two ways:
Voluntarily acknowledgment: When the child is born outside of marriage, and both the mother and the father agree to be the child’s parents, then the paternity can be established by signing a notarized ‘Certificate of Parentage.’ Once signed, the father is allowed to put his name on the child’s birth certificate. If the parents are unsure, they can use genetic testing for confirmation of paternity before signing the certificate of parentage.
Paternity hearing or action: A paternity case can be filed in the court of New Jersey to establish paternity if the parents do not agree on the father of the child. The case can be filed by the child, mother of the child, the child’s guardian or legal representative, or the person alleging to be the child’s father. The court can then establish paternity by ordering genetic testing. The paternity action can only be filed till the child turns twenty three years of age.
Establishing paternity can be beneficial to the child in many ways. While having both parents can be valuable in the healthy development of a child, it goes beyond that. Paternity allows both the child and the father with certain legal rights. A child can be awarded child support only if the paternity is established when the parents are unmarried. A father can file for child custody or visitation, and be granted other parental rights, only if he has been established as the child’s father. The child also gets access to the medical history of their father, which can be helpful in the future. There are also specific benefits available in the New Jersey state that are accessible to the child when paternity is established.
Bhuchar Law Firm’s family law attorneys can guide you through the legal process of establishing the paternity of your child. If you are considering it and have questions, we can help you. Our lawyers can review the facts of your case and present you with the accompanying consequences. Contact our offices for a consultation.