Helping with Paternity Disputes
Our attorneys are familiar with the many legal regulations related to paternity cases and we know that these can be particularly challenging. You may be trying to establish that he is the father of the child so you can get child support. On the other hand, someone may be arguing that you are the father of a child and that you owe financial support. There is also a possibility that you are being denied access to your own child because the child’s mother says you are not the child’s father.
In any case where paternity is in question, you have the right to request a DNA test that will be recognized by the court, unless paternity has already been established through other means such as signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. It is much more difficult to challenge paternity if the father signs a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity and puts his name on the birth certificate, so don’t sign anything at the hospital unless you are 100% certain the child is yours. These cases are handled in Juvenile Court. Sometimes, this court can work smoothly. However, it can also be challenging if you are unfamiliar with its procedures.
How is Paternity Established in Juvenile Court?
Either interested party may file a petition to establish or disestablish paternity. A DNA test is not required by law but is the best way to support your claim in court.
- DNA tests are performed by private lab testing facilities at the parties’ expense
- The court can order the parties to cooperate in getting a DNA test, which is usually a cheek swab.
- The results of the DNA test will be submitted to the court as an exhibit in your paternity case and be given great weight in determining the outcome of the case.
As in the case of divorce, if paternity is established, the court will determine that both parents should be involved in the child’s upbringing. Paternity disputes can lead to very rough emotional challenges. With an experienced lawyer on your side throughout the process—on either side of the dispute—the paternity test process can go smoothly. We are here to help you with any family law case.