What Is Paternity?

Paternity can be used to prove if someone is or is not the father of a child. When a child is born during marriage, the law presumes the husband is the biological father of that child. However, when the parents are not married it is important that paternity be legally established, and that means doing more than putting the father on the birth certificate.

Paternity proceedings are very straightforward. A paternity test uses a simple cheek swab from the potential father to check against the child's DNA. These tests can exclude a wrongly accused man, but will also clearly identify who the father is.

There are many reasons why establishing paternity is important for both the child and the father. Until paternity is established the child does not have any privileges when it comes to receiving financial support, insurance or inheriting assets from the father. On the other hand, the father does not have visitation rights or rights to make decisions over the child's education, medical care and religion.

Once the paternity test results have been completed and paternity has been established, the court will enter permanent child custody, support, and parenting time orders. This is also when the child's birth certificate may be amended, if the father was not previously placed on the birth certificate.

If the parties are certain of paternity, each party can sign an acknowledgment that a particular person is the father. Paternity acknowledgements are filed with the court and then an order legally establishing a man's paternity is entered by the court.

Establishing paternity can be a very emotional process for the parties involved. At the Scottsdale office of Owens & Perkins we have experienced paternity attorneys that will handle your case with the utmost care. Contact our office at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our paternity lawyers.

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