More than half of all children in the United States are born to unmarried parents. Establishing paternity and parental rights and obligations is a very important aspect of raising healthy children. Mothers and fathers each have a responsibility to support the child and a right to maintain a strong parent-child relationship. Likewise, children have a right to a relationship with both of their parents.
When an unmarried woman has a child, a paternity action is often needed to establish parental rights. In disputed cases, a DNA test may be used to prove whether or not someone is the biological father and the results of the DNA test are then used by the court as evidence of parentage. Paternity establishes parental rights that carry a legal relationship with certain financial obligations and benefits including, medical coverage, access to benefits, or inheritance rights. Establishing paternity provides a child with eligibility to receive child support, legal rights involving death benefits, probate and the settlement of the father’s estate, the inheritance of certain assets, coverage under the father’s health insurance plan, and access to the father’s medical records for health purposes.
Once paternity is established, a father may seek a parenting plan or parenting time with his children, or a mother may file for child support for children. Our Family Law attorneys represent clients interested in asserting visitation rights or seeking child support for children in their care. We prepare all the necessary forms and documentation on behalf of our clients needed for requesting a paternity test through the court and assist in filing for child support or establishing parenting rights for all children.