If you are a single parent seeking custodial rights or financial support for your child with a previous partner, you may be required to establish paternity first. A Washington DC paternity lawyer can provide invaluable legal support and guidance if you need assistance proving or refuting a paternity claim. A family law attorney can explain your legal options and ensure you know your rights.
Potential Outcomes of a Paternity Case
When a paternity case is filed, one of the very first steps may be a court-mandated DNA testing to determine whether the man is the biological father of the child in question. If the DNA tests prove the child’s paternity, the father may be afforded certain rights, privileges, and obligations.
For example, the court could compel the father to pay child support and other expenses associated with the child’s upbringing. A court judgement regarding whether one or both parents would have legal and/or physical custody of the child would also be made. A parent who is given legal custody of their child has the power to make determinations that concern the child’s health and wellbeing, such as their medical care and schooling. Physical custody is the child’s living situation.
The court could also award visitation rights to one parent when the other parent is granted sole custodial privileges. A Washington DC lawyer can further explain the potential outcomes of a paternity suit and how the court’s ruling could impact a parent’s legal rights and duties.
How Child Support Could Be Assessed
A mother may file a paternity suit in an effort to obtain child support. Child support is calculated based on a formula established by state law. This formula factors in the monthly income of both parents, the cost of health insurance and extraordinary medical expenses for the minor child, work-related childcare costs as well as the age of the child or children.
Once a judge orders a parent to pay child support, the parent must comply with the provisions of the child support order. If a parent defaults on child support, the payee-parent would have legal recourse. The noncompliant parent could be subject to consequences such license suspension, liens, and denial of travel documents.
There are a few ways in which lawyer in Washington DC can help confirm paternity. If the parents are not in concurrence regarding who the natural father of the child is, the DC Child Support Services division or the mother may initiate paternity proceedings. A man alleged to be the child’s biological father or who is convinced that he is the father may also file to establish parentage or paternity.
In situations where both the mother and father are in agreement concerning the child’s paternity, the process is somewhat less complicated. The parents would be required to sign a form called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). If the form is signed in error by the mother or father or due to another reason such as fraud or duress, a parent has up to 60 days from the date they sign the VAP to rescind it. Otherwise, the VAP may be used as evidence to prove paternity and request economic support for the child.
Reach Out to a Washington DC Paternity Attorney
If you need help filing a paternity action or responding to a paternity suite, do not hesitate to reach out to a Washington DC paternity lawyer. An attorney could help you better understand the paternity process and the potential timeline for your case.
A Washington DC lawyer can shed light on your legal rights and obligations may be, depending on the outcome of your case. Call today for your confidential attorney consultation.