Paternity is one of the most delicate and disruptive points within family law. Whether it is an issue between two unmarried individuals or resulting from an extramarital relationship, the emotions and demands of paternity questions can be complicated to manage.

The uncertainty of a paternity case is the most troubling part. Therefore, we have compiled answers to essential questions on paternity.

Why do I need to establish paternity?

Paternity is essential to any person seeking parental rights, such as visitation or shared custody. However, if you are not a “presumed parent,” establishing paternity is a much more complicated process.

What is a presumed parent?

The presumed parent, in most cases, is the individual married to the birth mother. This means that, regardless of the relationship, if a married woman gives birth, the law presumes their spouse to be the child’s parent. There are, of course, various exceptions and unique situations that can affect the “presumption of parentage,” but those distinctions are best discussed with an attorney.

How do I establish paternity?

Establishing paternity is a legal process that is much more complicated after the birth of the child. The records and the presumed parent are at that point set. It would require a genetic test and possibly court dates. How contentious the process becomes depends on several factors that are best discussed with your attorney.

How long does it take to establish paternity?

There is no set length of time for a paternity issue to reach a resolution. There are some time limits and waiting periods, but the legal mechanisms may move differently depending on representation and urgency.

What about disestablishing paternity?

If you wish to remove yourself as the presumed parent of a child, as you are not the child’s biological parent, you may. However, this legal process must begin within a reasonable amount of time that a person learns that they are not the biological parent.

Get careful answers to a sensitive topic

Paternity is a complex topic for families and almost always a struggle. Finding the right way forward requires speaking with an attorney on your specific issues and taking the proper steps from there.