These days, especially in progressive cities like Las Vegas and Henderson, it’s not uncommon for children to be born outside of marriage. After all, more people are shying away from marriage, especially if they are a child of divorce or they have been divorced before. However, avoid marriage doesn’t stop children from being born.
In recent years, having children out of wedlock has not only become socially acceptable, but it’s also become normal for a lot of families. With so many children being born outside of marriage, the family courts had to shift their focus to the rights of unwed fathers.
The Role of Paternity Establishment
In Nevada and across the nation, unwed fathers have zero rights and responsibilities to their children until paternity is legally established. This means a family court cannot issue orders for child custody or child support until paternity is established first.
Under the law, when a married woman has a baby, her husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s biological and legal father. But if a child is born to unmarried parents, the child does not have a legal father until paternity is established. “What is paternity exactly?” It means to determine who a child’s legal father is.
Sometimes, however, a married woman is impregnated by a man who is not her husband. In these situations, the child may have been conceived as a result of an affair, or the child may have been conceived while the couple was amid divorce. As long as the mother was married at the time she conceived or gave birth, the law will consider her husband to be the child’s legal father, even if he is not the biological father.
For the actual biological father to exercise his parental rights, the parents cannot voluntarily sign an acknowledgment of paternity unless the woman’s husband consents in writing or a court finds that the husband is not the child’s biological and legal father.
How is Paternity Established?
Generally, for unmarried parents to acknowledge paternity, the mother and father sign a paternity affidavit. Even if the father is married to another woman, he can still sign the paternity affidavit. If there is any doubt or question over paternity, a paternity suit should be filed to resolve the matter. With a paternity case, paternity is established through genetic testing (a DNA test), which is very accurate.
Under Nevada law, paternity actions can be brought any time before a child’s 21st birthday. To learn more about bringing a paternity action, contact Ford & Friedman today.