Paternity can be determined in a number of ways. When a child is born, there is a form that a father can fill out at the hospital, making a voluntary acknowledgment of his paternity. If a father does not complete such a form, then paternity can be established by way of a DNA test. A DNA test consists of analyzing a tissue sample, such as hair, skin, blood, or amniotic fluid. A trained medical professional orders and sends the sample to a genetic testing laboratory, which then reports the results.
Those results often affect all parties involved for years to come. Because of this, it is important to have a Virginia paternity and visitation lawyer by your side to ensure that your rights are taken into consideration especially with regards to child custody.
Taking a Paternity Test
If there is any question at all that a father is the biological parent of a child, then he should consider taking a paternity test. This is because, if an individual who is not the biological father of a child voluntarily acknowledges paternity at birth, he may face financial ramifications in terms of child support moving forward.
Thus, if there is any doubt as to the biological status of the father, it is always a good idea to have a paternity test conducted. The administration of these tests can be supervised by a Virginia paternity and visitation attorney to ensure accuracy.
In the eyes of Virginia law, both parents have the right to have regular interaction with their child. This is the case assuming that such interaction does not put the child in harm’s way. Therefore, a father of a child generally has the right to see that child. However, the schedule by which he may see that child must be determined by the court.
If the parties go to court and the judge has to make a determination of the visitation schedule for a child, the court must consider the factors laid out in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3. Generally speaking, the presiding judge will take the following elements into account:
- Age of the child
- Nature of the existing relationship between the child and the parents
- History of the father’s interaction with the child
- Role that he has played thus far in the child’s life
- Home of the father
- Home of the child
- Other factors relevant to the best interest of the child
Benefits of an Attorney
Proving and disproving paternity can be a bit of a technical endeavor in terms of the law. Because of this, a person who is trying to establish paternity or lack thereof should always contact a Virginia paternity and visitation attorney. The attorney can then advise the inquiring party regarding the necessary steps and how to go about them.
Moreover, such a person should seek an attorney who can advise them regarding the rights of all parties at the conclusion of the paternity test. Such rights are important, as they are a key element in determining factors that will affect the life of all parties involved, such as visitation and child support.