Articles Posted in Paternity

Some of the Most Important Purposes of Family Law
Building a family is one of the most important milestones in anybody’s life and the court recognizes this, which is why family law was enacted to focus on issues within family relationships including divorce, child custody, and adoption. But what exactly is family law for?

Execution and Administering of Estates and Wills

Since the conflict in the division of assets of a deceased family member is a common issue, family law covers the execution and administration of estates and wills. These legal documents will state how a parent or any family member would like his property to be managed after his demise. Family lawyers help clients draft these documents and ensure that an estate is administered according to the wishes of the deceased through his will.

What Are the Parental Rights of Unmarried Fathers?
A man who is a biological parent has the right to his child even if he wasn’t married to the birth mother. This gives him the right to parent a child or sustain a relationship with them. However, their parental rights can become an issue when it comes to seeking visitation rights, child custody, or when the mother decides to put the child up for adoption.

Several cases in the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of giving rights to unmarried fathers, particularly when they have established a substantial relationship with their child. For the court, a biological connection is sufficient for a father to want to establish a relationship with his child. The court considers the move a commitment to parental responsibilities.

“Father” as Defined by the State

There’s an interesting case unfolding in New Jersey. It includes twin girls, one mother and now, apparently, two fathers. One of the more interesting factors is the rarity: or maybe not. Some in the medical and scientific fields say it could be more common, but DNA testing is not conducted in most cases. DNA expert Dr. Karl-Hanz Wurzinger that said one in every 13,000 reported paternity cases involving twins have different fathers.

Here’s what happened:

A mother of 2-year-old twins went to court in order to ensure child support from the father of her children. The Establishing Paternity Twin Girls, Two FathersPassaic County Board of Social Services, as a matter of routine, ordered a DNA test on the babies in order to establish paternity and child support. Everyone was surprised to learn that the named father is not the father of one twin.

Establishing Paternity in TexasMany fathers wish to establish paternity for any number of reasons. It doesn’t always mean they suspect the child’s mother of cheating, but in Texas, men who are not legally married to the mother but wish to be recognized as the legal father must have paternity established. A DNA test is one way to accomplish that.

Note: fathers can sign a legal document, Acknowledgment of Paternity in Texas that serves the same purpose. For some fathers, especially if the relationship is volatile, they may wish to seek DNA testing to further protect their relationship with their children. When a baby is born to married couples, the legalities of fatherhood are automatic. The husband is called the presumed father and has the same legal rights as the mother.

There are a number of reasons unmarried Texas fathers would seek DNA testing. It allows their name to go on the birth certificate, it provides a legal bond that protects the relationship, and it also ensures their rights are protected regarding which schools the child(ren) attend, the type of medical attention they receive, etc. Simply, it legally allows them to be involved.

Men, as more and more people have children out of wedlock, there is an insidious practice which you should be aware of — that is, being asked to sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form at the hospital.  Usually, if/when you visit the mother and child at the hospital right after the birth of the child, you will be asked by hospital social services, nurses or sometimes the mother to sign a document called “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This is a document that, once you sign it, establishes you as the child’s legal father unless you later timely challenge it through a court proceeding. Once you’ve signed it, it creates a legal basis for obligating you to pay child support and provide medical support. I’ve had many gentlemen clients who learned the hard way that when they signed it “just to be nice” to the mother, or because they felt emotionally they should sign it even though they weren’t sure they were the actual biological father, they set themselves up for being the legal father/paying child support for life even though they were not sure they were the biological father or even though they were not the biological father.

Unless you are 110% positive you are the biological father of the baby, do NOT sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Have genetic testing done as soon as practical just to confirm whether you are, in fact, the biological father. If you are, it is simple to establish that without signing an Acknowledgement.

However, if you HAVE signed one and you are not sure you are the child’s biological father, by all means contact me so we can effectively challenge it in Court.

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