3 Ways To Legally Establish Paternity

It can be more challenging for fathers to exercise their rights as a parent when they are not in a relationship with the mother of their children. Paternity must be established before any legal action can be taken to protect a father's parental rights.

There are three primary methods you can use to establish legal paternity. Learn more about these methods so that you can select the one that will best serve your needs.

1. Work With the Mother

One of the easiest ways to establish paternity is to work closely with the mother of your child. It is possible to create an agreement with the mother to declare that you are the father of the child.

An attorney can help you prepare a document known as a voluntary declaration of paternity. Both you and the mother will need to sign this document, then file it with the court in order to establish the legal paternity of a child.

This approach tends to work best when both mother and father are amicable with one another.

2. Work With a Child Support Agency

Child support agencies can be found across the country. These agencies were created to help parents maintain their rights.

It is possible to work with a representative from your local child support agency to establish legal paternity. This can be a viable option if you have limited financial resources, since the legal help offered through child support agencies is often subsidized by the state government.

The major drawback to taking this approach to proving your paternity is that you must rely on the agency to handle all aspects of your case.

3. File Your Own Paternity Suit

If you want to have more control over your case, you should hire a family law attorney to help you file a paternity suit in court.

Your attorney can help you prepare the necessary documents to start legal proceedings. Your attorney can also help ensure that the mother of your child is served properly and that all court deadlines are met.

The case will be heard by a family court judge. The judge will likely order a paternity test as part of the proceedings.

If the paternity test confirms you are the father, a judgment to establish a parental relationship will be entered. This judgment allows you to take legal action to seek visitation and custody rights.

Talk with a family law attorney to learn more about legally establishing your paternity.