In a divorce, paternity can become an incredibly complicated issue. Paternity, in this context, is the legal term for fatherhood. With paternity, a man is the child’s legal father, regardless of actual biology. The outcome of a paternity ruling goes beyond simply determining parental rights. It can touch any other aspect of the family and your finances.
Establishing paternity has a significant impact on various legal matters. It can ensure financial stability and support for children, and it affects estate planning issues.
To ensure a fair outcome in these circumstances, you must have accurate information about who has legal fatherhood in the family.
Overview of Paternity
Paternity establishes legal responsibility, granting certain rights and obligations to parents and children. Legal fatherhood affects inheritance, custody and visitation, and financial support.
For high net worth individuals, the stakes are even higher. Without proper paternity establishment, you risk legal battles, inheritance disputes, and the loss of substantial assets.
Potential Legal Implications for Failing to Establish Paternity
The absence of paternity can affect several aspects of the child's life, including inheritance, child support, and custody arrangements. Without the appropriate documentation, inheritance disputes will arise, and the child will not qualify for social security benefits or other government programs.
Most importantly, the lack of legal fatherhood can affect the child's emotional and psychological well-being. They may feel isolated and disconnected from their parents.
Consequently, it is crucial for high net worth families to ensure they have proper documentation that firmly establishes parental rights.
The Impact of Establishing Paternity
Paternity guarantees that the father's name is on the child's birth certificate. This is true whether the child is sired or adopted. Establishing fatherhood makes the dad accountable for providing financial support for the child.
Such support benefits the child financially, and it can help strengthen the relationship between the parent and child.
Child support should not be viewed as a burden. It is a chance for a non-custodial parent to remain involved. Moreover, it can be viewed as a right rather than an obligation. When you pay child support, that money is legally bound to the child. The receiving parent cannot block payments, and they cannot spend this money on themselves.
Paternity also gives children access to other rights, including social security, medical benefits, and inheritance.
Establishing paternity helps more than just fathers. It can also give mothers the legal help they need to keep their children secure. She also has more legal opportunities to hold a neglectful father accountable.
Paternity gives fathers certain legal rights, such as equal consideration in child custody agreements. Courts prioritize a child’s best interests when making child custody decisions. Considering this fact, establishing paternity can help create a more stable and secure environment. In the worst-case scenarios, paternity can help protect children from abusive or neglectful mothers. In the best cases, it can permanently keep a caring father in a child’s life, which is better for the family’s mental and emotional health.
Paternity guarantees a child will receive a portion of their father's inheritance. This is true even when the father does not have a will. When there is no estate plan, assets go into intestate succession. This is a line of close family members who divide inheritance equally. Legally recognized descendants are at the front of this line. Paternity also gives children more protection when there are inheritance disputes.
Different Methods for Establishing Paternity
There are several ways to establish paternity, including:
This is the most reliable method. It involves analyzing DNA samples from the child and father to determine whether they share a biological relationship.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
This is generally the simplest method. Fathers can sign a legal document stating they accept legal responsibility for the child. This method is complicated only when the mother opposes, or there is another man claiming paternity rights. In those cases, you will need an attorney to help prove your legal fatherhood.
Court-Ordered Paternity Testing
This method is usually reserved for situations where a father refuses to accept paternity. The child's mother or a state agency initiates testing. However, fathers can also rely on this method when they face opposition to their legal fatherhood.
No matter what path a father takes to establish paternity, they should seek assistance from an experienced attorney. Even the easiest methods can hit legal roadblocks, and fathers should make sure their rights are protected.
How DNA Testing Can Verify or Disprove Paternity Claims
Using genetic material from the father, child, and other close relatives, DNA testing can determine the child’s ancestry. These days, testing has a high degree of accuracy, and it helps verify if the alleged father is indeed the biological dad.
DNA testing can be a non-invasive process. A lab requires only a small sample of saliva, blood, or skin cells. They can usually get results within a few days.
No test is 100% foolproof, but DNA testing is widely accepted as a reliable method for determining paternity.
Obtaining a Court Order for Paternity Testing in Nevada
- File a petition with the court, which will initiate legal proceedings.
- From there, the court will determine how to go forward. It may order genetic testing, mediation, or legal representation.
Ford & Friedman is here to help protect a father’s rights and establish their legal parenthood. If you are facing paternity issues, contact our firm online or call our office at (702) 904-9898.