Paternity is the legal status that establishes whether or not someone is another person’s biological father. Establishing paternity is very important in the eyes of the law when it comes to child support and child custody issues. There are court proceedings and DNA testing that are both used to establish paternity, and the better they are understood the easier it can be to move through the process.
While paternity can be established without a lawyer and the court system, having a legal advocate on your side and making sure everything is filed and processed correctly can give you important information and peace of mind.
If you need to establish paternity, an attorney can help. Here at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC, we work with clients all throughout greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey on paternity and other family law issues.
The Courts And The DNA Testing Process
Using a DNA test through an approved laboratory can establish biological paternity. A cheek swab can be used, and the DNA of the alleged father and the child can then be compared to one another. Generally, a DNA test will show a 99.9 percent certainty if the child belongs to the father. With the DNA proof, parentage can be established for legal purposes. The courts can use the DNA to make a paternity ruling, but there are other ways that can be done. Generally, if the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth, the child is considered to be the father’s biological offspring. The same is generally true of the father named on the child’s birth certificate, whether or not the parents of the child were married.
Child Support And Child Custody
The two main reasons for establishing paternity are usually child support and child custody. If you feel you are being asked to pay for a child that is not biologically yours, you may request a paternity test to determine whether your payments should continue. Women who feel men are not paying child support for their children also often request paternity tests, to ensure that they receive proper child support payments. Fathers attempting to get custody of their children may have to take a paternity test, as well, to prove that the children are theirs and allow their custody case to move forward.