The laws in Frederick and throughout the State say that both parents have the privilege and obligation to raise their children. This includes the rights to custody and visitation, as well as the requirement to provide care and comfort.
However, these rights and obligations only extend to people who are the biological parents of the children in question. As a result, many mothers wish to bring suits against men who they believe are the fathers of their children. On the other side, many unmarried fathers may wish to contest the idea that they are the parent of a child.
A diligent Frederick paternity lawyer could help any person who wishes to determine the true parentage of a child. They can help file complaints in court asking a judge to issue a DNA test for a child. A seasoned child custody attorney could also represent the interests of men who wish to contest the idea that they are the father of the child in question.
The Rights and Obligations of Fathers
Family laws in Frederick center around the idea that both parents share equal privileges and responsibilities when it comes to raising children. In fact, Maryland Code, Family Law §5-1002 states that all children have the right to expect the same level of care and support, regardless of the marital status of their parents.
It follows that every mother has the right to determine the identity of the father of their child, just as every man has the right to know if the child is theirs. This has an enormous impact on a potential father. These fathers are obligated to provide child support regardless of their income. However, with this obligation comes rights.
A father may petition the court to consider questions concerning custody and visitation. The law makes no presumption that a mother will provide the best environment for raising a child, and a father may ask that a court grant joint physical and legal custody over their child. A steadfast Frederick paternity attorney could help people understand the purposes of paternity suits and the resulting legal effects.
Answering Paternity Questions in Court
The Family Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases that dispute the parentage of a child. To begin this process, a mother, father, or any other interested party may file a complaint with the Frederick Family Court asking that court to open a case.
According to Md. Code, Fam L §5-1010, this complaint does not need to take any particular form, but must instead clearly state facts upon which the complaint is based and the desired outcome. The party filing the complaint must then serve this complaint on the other party.
The responding party has the opportunity to file an answer to the complaint as provided in Md. Code, Fam L §5-1012. This answer serves as an initial rebuttal to the complainant’s allegations. An answer may contain evidence that a respondent intends to present in court that contradicts the complainant’s allegations.
In court, a judge will consider all evidence presented by the parties. If there is still disagreement as to the parentage of the child, the court can order all involved parties to submit to a DNA test under the terms of Md. Code, Fam L §5-1029. A skilled paternity lawyer in Frederick could help parents pursue and defend paternity claims.
Let a Frederick Paternity Attorney Assist You
A Frederick family court’s primary goal is always to do what is in the best interests of a child. This may include identifying the true father of a child in order to provide support and to settle custody matters. Any person with an interest in the wellbeing of a child may initiate a paternity suit including the mother, the father, or even a State agency.
The outcome of a paternity suit will have a demonstrable impact on the life of the child for years to come. A father has the obligation to provide child support, but also has the right to ask the court for visitation or even custody.
A knowledgeable Frederick paternity lawyer could help you press your rights as a parent. This includes representing mothers who wish to show that a man is the father of their child, but also includes fathers who may want to establish paternity to ask for custody or who wish to dispute their paternity over a child. Contact qualified legal counsel today to see how they might be able to help you.