Paternity And Maternity Cases

Paternity And Maternity Cases

Determination of the legal parent

In paternity and maternity cases, also called "parentage cases," the court makes a ruling on who the child's legal parent is. The attorneys at FMS Family Law have years of experience helping men and women establish the legal paternity or maternity of their children and helping many men and women obtain parental rights to their children. This most often applies in cases of unmarried parents.

Establishing Parentage

What does it mean to establish parentage?

Establishing parentage means obtaining an order from the court or signing an official Declaration of Paternity that states who the legal parents of a child are. If, for example, parents of a child were not married when the child was born, the father is not legally determined to be the child’s father until parentage is established, even if he can prove he is the biological father of the child.  

Only after parentage is established does the father have legal rights and responsibilities for the child. The court will not order child support, custody or visitation until this determination is made.  

  • If a father does not admit that he is the parent, the court may order that genetic testing be conducted for the alleged father, mother and child in order to make an official determination.

Once a person is established as the legal mother or father, he or she will then have all of the official parenting responsibilities such as: 

  • Being able to request custody and visitation orders from the court 
  • Being responsible for paying child support, health care costs and child-care costs   
What are the reasons for establishing parentage?
What are the reasons for establishing parentage?

Establishing parentage is very important as it gives the child the benefit of knowing who both of his or her parents are. It also legally entitles the child to all rights and privileges of that of a child whose parents are married.  

Some of these legal rights and privileges are as follows: 

  • Financial support from both of the parents 
  • Legal documentation that identifies both parents 
  • Health and life insurance coverage 
  • A birth certificate that contains the names of both parents 
  • Right to inheritances 
  • The right to receive social security and veteran’s benefits

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