Establishing paternity can be a complex task that has serious financial and other ramifications for the mother and/or the alleged father. Whenever paternity is disputed, it is advisable to consult with an experience family law attorney. Doing so ensures that the parties understand their rights and responsibilities should paternity be established.
A paternity action is the legal process where a court determines the legal father of a child as well as establishes child support and a time sharing contact schedule for the parents. However, other issues that are often present in divorce cases are not available in a paternity action, such as support for the other parent (palimony) and distribution of assets.
Most paternity cases involve parents who had a child out of wedlock. Due to the possible consequences on time sharing and child support, unmarried parents should legally establish paternity as soon as possible after birth. Until a child's paternity has been legally established, a child's father has no legal right to have contact with his child(ren).
The court can help set aside a previously-entered paternity order in the event new evidence comes to light showing the legal father is not the biological father of the child.
We can advise you on these paternity issues as well as alternative ways that paternity can be established other than through a court order.