Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility, and a Rockville paternity lawyer can help you work through the process of establishing the identity of a child’s father. Since the issue of paternity can affect a child’s future, identifying their father is crucial. With a child custody attorney specializing in paternity, you’ll get the expert advice you need to protect your rights and responsibilities as a father.
What if Paternity is in Question?
In Rockville, if a couple is married when a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father. However, there are cases where paternity may be uncertain, even when couples are married.
The most common scenario that requires the establishment of paternity is when a child is born to unmarried parents. The courts recognize that a child born to unmarried parents should not be placed at a disadvantage compared to children of married couples.
State law recognizes that a child born out of wedlock is entitled to support from both parents. In the case of unmarried parents, many times the father is on the birth certificate and he would have signed the Affidavit of Parentage. There may not be a dispute as to who the father is. However, if the mother is uncertain or the putative father is uncertain about whether he is the biological father, he may petition the court to have a paternity test ordered.
A man may voluntarily sign an Affidavit of Parentage immediately after the birth of his child, which would place his name on the birth certificate. After leaving the hospital, the Affidavit of Parentage must be signed by both parents in front of a notary for paternity to be established.
If a father’s paternity is in question despite the submission of a signed affidavit, a Rockville lawyer can petition the court for a blood or DNA test to verify his paternal relationship with his child. Both parents may be required to submit to court-ordered testing, which generally involves little more than a mouth swab. Once paternity is established, the father would take on all the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent.
Why is it Essential to Establish Paternity?
Every child is entitled to support from both parents; therefore, paternity is crucial to a child’s security and wellbeing. If a man is trying to avoid his legal parental obligations, a lawyer in the Rockville area may ask the court to compel him to submit to a DNA test to determine paternity. Alternately, if a man believes he is not the father of a child, he has a right to challenge his alleged parenthood.
Once paternity is confirmed, if the parents are unmarried, the father will be required to provide financial support to help care for the child. A Rockville paternity attorney can use state-mandated guidelines to set an appropriate amount of support and ensure that the father fulfills his obligations.
Rockville family courts take cases of unpaid child support very seriously. An attorney can help file a motion to enforce a child support agreement in the case of non-payment. The court can garnish wages, file judgments, and take property to fulfill this obligation.
Unmarried fathers are also entitled to visitation, unless a judge finds that allowing a father to visit his child is not in the child’s best interests. A father may be awarded visitation right by an agreement between parents or through a court-ordered parenting schedule.
How a Rockville Paternity Attorney Can Help
It is very stressful for both parents when paternity is in doubt. A Rockville paternity lawyer can work with you during this process and advocate for you and your child. If you are unsure about the paternity of a child, it is crucial to get the help you need to make sure you are protected. Call our firm today to get in touch with a professional.