Paternity is Fatherhood. Every child deserves to have a legal father. When you establish paternity, you identify the legal father of the child. Paternity gives rights and benefits to the mother, the father and the child. It is not enough to establish legal rights and obligations to be a child’s natural father or to be named on the child’s birth certificate. A natural father needs to establish that he is the “legal” father. An action for paternity is the means to do so.
What Are the Benefits?
Some of the rights and benefits for the child are:
- Information on family medical history
- The child will know the identity of his or her father
- The father’s name is on the birth certificate
- Health or life insurance coverage from either parent that may be available
- Support from both parents, like child support and medical support
- Social Security or veteran’s benefits, military allowances and inheritances.
Paternity gives both parents the legal right to:
- A child support order
- A court order for custody and timesharing
- A say in all major decisions about the child, including medical decisions, educational needs, religious upbringing, and overall welfare of the child.
Does Your Child Have a Legal Father?
- A child born to parents that are married to each other has a legal father. Married parents and their child get all the rights and benefits of having a legal father.
- A child born to parents that are not married has a legal mother, but not a legal father – even if the father’s name is included on the child’s birth certificate. “Legal” paternity has to be established for the child no matter how certain the parties are about who the natural father is.
How Do I Establish Paternity for My Child?
Paternity is automatically established if the child is born to parties who are married to each other. The child is presumed to be “of the marriage” and the husband is presumed to be the father – even when he is not the natural father.
The attorneys of Feldman & Schneiderman, P.L. have represented:
- Unmarried mothers who wish to have the natural father determined to be the child’s legal father and who want to get child support for the child
- Unmarried fathers who wish to establish their paternity and establish their custodial rights and obtain timesharing with the child
- Husbands who do not believe they are the natural father of the child
- Men who contend that they are the natural father of a child born to a married couple
- Men believed to be the legal fathers who are not the natural fathers and wish to disestablish paternity
A genetic test is a scientific test used to prove the scientific likelihood that a man is the child’s father. It is also called a DNA test. Since DNA is present in every cell in your body, needles or blood are not needed to do the test. Skin cells are collected from the inside cheek area of the mouth of the child and the alleged father.
Testing works this way:
- The alleged father and the child are scheduled for a genetic test appointment. (Alleged father means the man believed to be the father).
- The child and alleged father must come to a collection site and bring picture identification. If the child does not have picture identification, a birth certificate or Social Security card can be used for identification. Identification is mandatory to make sure the test is being done on the correct persons.
- At the appointment, a photograph will be taken of each person tested. The picture is used to identify the person tested and will be sent to the lab with the DNA sample.
- Cotton swabs will collect DNA from inside the cheek of the child and alleged father and the samples will be tested by the genetic testing laboratory.
- The laboratory compares the cells of the alleged father and the child to get a test result.
- The laboratory provides the test results within 7 – 10 days after the last cell sample is taken. We will get the test results from the laboratory about 3 weeks after March 15. The test results will indicate the statistical probability that the man is the natural father of the child.
We contract with independent accredited laboratories to test genetic samples and provide test results. We do not accept genetic test results from any other laboratories.
We, at Feldman & Schneiderman, P.L., have experience in paternity cases and in using DNA testing to support or refute paternity claims. When a man alleged to be the natural father refuses to cooperate in genetic testing, we obtain court orders compelling cooperation. We also see back child support, contribution to pre- and post-natal bills and attorney’s fees in paternity cases.