Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Paternity establishment can be done by either admitting and swearing to the fact that the child is that of the father (the father must sign) or by submitting to DNA scientific testing. If the father is the one petitioning the court to establish his paternal rights, then he is stating to the court that he believes himself to be the father of the child; however, the mother may contest the establishment by requesting a paternity test be done. If the mother has filed the petition, then the alleged father may move the court to require the mother to provide the child for scientific testing so that the DNA test can be completed.
If a child is born out of wedlock, then the father’s rights can only be established by the court and not by the signing of the birth certificate. Establishing parental rights also means providing for the child through child support payments and establishing a parenting and time-sharing plan for the benefit of the child to have a relationship with both parents. If the mother files a petition to establish paternity and only asks for child support, the father can still request time-sharing with the child by filing a counter-petition for the same. If you are going through a paternity issue, you should speak with a lawyer that handles family issues so that you can better understand your rights and options.