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What does Paternity mean to You?
What does Paternity mean to You?

If you have been informed that you are the father to a newborn child, but you are unsure, it is important to seek help. Establishing paternity has legal consequences that you should fully understand. If it is determined that you are the child’s biological father, you will immediately have certain obligations and rights that you are entitled to. For example, once your paternity is proven, you have the right to input regarding the legal rights of your child and you can seek visitation and/or custody of your child. As the legal father of the child, you will also be required to pay child support.

If you are uncertain whether you are the child’s father, it is important to understand there are other options besides signing the paternity from at the hospital. When there is a question regarding paternity, DNA testing should be administered to verify whether or not you are the father.

DNA testing can be performed voluntarily or by obtaining a court order. If the testing is required by the court, the process goes something like this:

  • The mother, father and child must all appear with photo identification to an appointment
  • Photos will be taken of each of you
  • A test is performed by swabbing the inside of your cheek with cotton to collect a DNA sample
  • The DNA samples and photos are sent to a lab for processing
  • Within a few weeks you will receive the lab test results in the mail confirming whether or not you are the child’s biological father
  • If you are determined to be the father, you will most likely be held responsible for paying the court and DNA testing costs

Don’t face the paternity testing process alone. Paternity must be established before child custody, visitation, or child support matters can be decided. For help in establishing paternity or fighting an erroneous allegation of paternity, call The Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule an appointment.