Paternity means fatherhood. Establishing paternity means making the biological father the legal father too. Paternity can be established as soon as the child is born until anytime before the child reaches 21 years of age.
Establishing paternity is important so that the relationship between both parents and the child are established. In addition, a paternity action can establish both parents financial obligations to the child and ensure that your child has enough money to meet their needs. Paternity actions can also ensure you’re your child has access to Social Security benefits, insurance benefits, inheritance rights, veterans and other rights. Finally, establishing paternity is important so that your child may obtain a complete medical history from the families of both parents. This could include hereditary health problems.
In a paternity action where the mother is married or widowed at the time of birth, her husband is considered by law to be the father unless a court has issued an order establishing that a person, other than the mother’s husband, is the father, or the mother and alleged father, other than the mother’s husband, have signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. If the mother is not married at the time of conception or birth, paternity can be established in two ways: (1) Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity which is filed with the Bureau of Health Planning & Statistics, Office of Vital Records or (2) A judge can declare a man the legal father of a child after a court hearing or by a default order.
A father can acknowledge paternity when both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity must be notarized or witnessed and filed at the Bureau of Health Planning & Statistics Office of Vital Records.Most hospitals can facilitate this process. The parents can also obtain the Voluntary Acknowledgement form from the Bureau of Health Planning & Statistics Office of Vital Records. The father can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity even if he is married to someone else.
If the alleged father refuses to acknowledge paternity, the mother or the Nevada State Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (if the child is receiving public assistance) may bring a paternity action to establish paternity. A hearing is conducted in order to establish paternity.
If you are not sure who the father of your child is, the Child Support Office can assist you. They will help you in identifying and locating (if necessary) the alleged father. You do not have to be on public assistance to seek assistance from the Child Support Enforcement Program.
If a genetic test is required to determine the father of a child it will be ordered by the Court. The mother, child and alleged father will be scheduled for testing. A sample of cells is taken from each person. The tests compare many different and complex details of the child’s cells with similar details in the mother’s and alleged father’s cells. Genetic testing is very accurate and indicates the probability of paternity. These tests can exclude a man who is not the biological father and can also show the likelihood of paternity if he is not excluded. A man is determined to be the legal father if genetic testing shows a probability of 99% or more that he is the father. A court decides who pays for genetic testing; generally the alleged father pays the costs.
A paternity action can be established by a qualified family law attorney. In addition, a family law attorney can help enforce a court order against a parent even if paternity was already decided. Your child has the right to expect regular and continued support from both parents. Do not wait to establish paternity or enforce a paternity order. When you wait, you take the chance things may change and you may not have an opportunity to assume responsibility for your child. Your child may grow up without the advantages and benefits that come from having both parents share in parental responsibilities. Give your child the best possible chance in life by establishing paternity as early as possible.