Establishing the paternity of a child in Nevada can have financial, medical and legal repercussions.
Under Nevada law, there are several parties that are able to bring a paternity suit to court, and those include the following:
- The child or the child's guardian ad litem
- The man presumed to be the father
- The child's mother
- An interested third party, such as a grandparent or caregiver
Each of these parties could stand to benefit in some way from establishing who the biological father of a child is. The following illustrates why paternity is so important:
1. Child support payments
Nevada holds both parents financially responsible for providing for a child's basic needs. Additionally, the law states that a father must help pay for the costs associated with the mother's pregnancy. Once the father of a child has been established, a court can begin the process of determining the amount of child support that may be owed.
2. Custody or visitation rights
In order to gain legal rights to a child, a man must prove that he is the father. This will give him the ability to seek custody or gain visitation rights. Without proof of paternity, the man may struggle to have a meaningful relationship with the child.
Establishing paternity means that a child will have access to certain benefits from the father, including health insurance and Social Security. Some veterans' benefits may also apply.
4. Health history
Lastly, knowing the biological parents of a child is an important part of having necessary medical information. Certain medical conditions can be hereditary, and knowing that a child could be at risk enables parents or caregivers to get the necessary treatment or take preventative measures.
Establishing paternity in Nevada
There are several ways to establish paternity in Nevada. If a couple is married at the time of the birth or conception, the man is assumed to be the father. However, a man could challenge fatherhood in either of these situations.
If a couple is not married, paternity could be established through signing a voluntary acknowledgment at the time of birth or at the local Office of Vital Records. Otherwise, any of the parties mentioned above can file a paternity suit.
To determine paternity, it is most likely that the alleged father, child and mother will undergo a DNA test. In some cases, this involves merely swabbing the inside of the cheek, and in others, blood could be drawn. It is even possible to do a paternity test before the child is born.
There are serious legal and financial issues at stake when dealing with paternity matters. Anyone with questions should consult with a family law attorney in Nevada.