Paternity

  • Paternity

How is paternity determined?

Most contested paternity issues are decided these days by DNA testing, which is the testing of a person’s genetic material. These tests are correct 99 times out of 100.

Usually, the party trying to prove paternity will have to cover the costs of the test, which can be anywhere from around $200 to $400.

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Can an unmarried mother force her baby’s father to support the child?

Yes. Both parents, married or not, have a duty to support their child. If the father admits paternity, the father often will be asked to sign an affidavit (a legal statement) to that effect. Then, if necessary, it will be easier to force the father to help support his child. If he does not admit to being the father, the mother may file a paternity suit against him. If the suit succeeds, the court will require the father to provide support.

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Can a father be required to visit with his child?

Generally, neither parent can be required to visit with the child.

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May the father of a child whose mother is married to another person file suit to establish paternity of the child?

Here, the law varies from state to state. Some states allow a man to file suit to prove paternity of a child born to a woman who is married to someone else. The man who filed suit might then be able to obtain visitation—or in unusual circumstances, obtain custody. Other states prohibit such suits and automatically presume the woman’s husband is the father. It is best to talk to an attorney who has experience with family law issues in your state.

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