Paternity can be a tricky topic for many parents in Maryland. When the paternity of a child is in dispute, the matter can become emotional for everyone involved. If a man believes that he is the biological father of a child, he might have to take steps to establish that fact.

Additionally, a man might believe that he is not the father of a child and may wish to prove as much to avoid financial obligations that likely follow a paternity determination. Scientific methods can clear up most paternity disputes and pave the way for other questions that the court will need to address. Any parent dealing with these issues should contact an experienced Bethesda paternity lawyer to ensure the protection of their rights and the rights of the child.

How to Establish Paternity

In cases where paternity is not clear, a simple blood test or DNA test can inform the parties as to whether a man is a child’s father. These tests are highly accurate. The ability to use a lab test to answer a paternity question makes these disputes far simpler.

A father may also sign a birth certificate and Affidavit of Parentage if he chooses to agree that he is the father of a child voluntarily. This step can resolve the issue for unmarried parents. Fathers can cancel the affidavit within 60 days of signing if they reconsider the issue and suspect they are not the father. Courts can make changes after the 60-day window but are only inclined to do so in specific cases of fraud, duress, or mistakes related to material facts.

If the parents are married, the state will presume that the mother’s husband is the father of the child. This presumption may be rebuttable depending on the circumstances, and the parties may challenge it in cases where another man is the child’s father. It is wise for anyone struggling with questions about paternity to consult with a local lawyer.

Who Has an Interest in a Paternity Case

A prospective father is often the person with an interest in a paternity case. The father may wish to prove or disprove parentage in order to establish visitation and support for that child.

Mothers also have a stake in paternity issues. By proving paternity, the mother can ensure that the child’s father contributes to the costs of caring for her child. The mother may also want her child to know their father and establish a relationship with him.

The state may also file a paternity claim when the mother is seeking child support. Anyone involved in these proceedings will benefit from hiring a skilled Bethesda paternity attorney.

What Happens When Courts Establish Paternity

After a court establishes paternity, they will have to address several other questions. The father will likely have to pay child support to the mother. However, fathers may be eligible to gain custody of their children if the facts of the case indicate that such an arrangement is in the child’s best interests.

Just because the court finds that a man is the father of a child does not mean that the father will have visitation with that child, even if he is paying support. Fathers who establish their paternity will still have to make a case for custody or visitation. A Bethesda paternity lawyer will be able to help fathers gain time with their children.

Hiring an Attorney

Paternity cases are emotional and may be complicated. Parents need to understand their rights when it comes to support and custody.

If you are struggling with a paternity case, you do not need to navigate the process alone. Hiring a Bethesda paternity lawyer can help you protect yourself and your parental rights. Schedule your consultation today with a skilled attorney in Bethesda.