A child has much to gain from both parents. As such, paternity issues are crucial not only to parents, but also the child. However, establishing paternity also imparts significant responsibility on each parent to raise and support their child. A father may want to prove his parentage to obtain custody or visitation rights.
On the other hand, a mother may ask the court to establish the paternity of her child’s father to ensure she receives the support she needs to care for their child. That being said, a man may want to refute paternity if a child’s mother is wrongfully seeking support payments from him to care for a child that isn’t his.
Whether you need help establishing or refuting paternity, a dedicated fathers’ rights attorney is here to help. Our Anderson paternity lawyer has the skill and compassion to effectively advocate for you and your child’s rights.
Why Might a Father in Anderson Want to Prove His Paternity?
The primary goal of establishing paternity is to ensure a child has the same legal rights and benefits available to children of married parents. Some of the benefits available to children once paternity is established include:
- Health insurance coverage through the father’s policy
- Inheritance from the father’s estate
- Access to family medical history
- Ability to establish relationships with the father’s extended family
- Financial support from both parents
Additionally, without a formal paternity determination, a father cannot legally secure his right to custody, visitation, or child support. Dads whose paternity has not been confirmed can only form a personal relationship with their children at the mother’s discretion.
Alternatively, a father may want to prove his parentage to obtain primary physical custody if he believes the mother is unfit to care for their child, in which case he may also petition the court for child support from her. A skilled lawyer could further explain the advantages of confirming a dad’s paternity.
Establishing Paternity by Consent of the Parents
When a child is born to a married couple in South Carolina, the husband is legally presumed to be the child’s father. However, if the parents are unmarried at the time of birth, they can establish paternity by signing a Paternity Acknowledgment Affidavit.
By executing a Paternity Acknowledgment, the mother and the father verify that he is the child’s biological father, and his name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. Unmarried parents should be cautioned that the father’s signature on the birth certificate alone does not establish the child’s paternity – they have to sign a Paternity Acknowledgment to make it official.
If either parent changes their mind regarding paternity, they have 60 days to rescind the affidavit. Otherwise, the father carries the legal rights and responsibilities of legal parentage. Because the stakes are so high in paternity cases, a mother or alleged father seeking a formal paternity determination is well-advised to consult an Anderson lawyer.
Contested Paternity Determinations in Anderson Family Court
A mother who wants to confirm the paternity of her child’s alleged father in order to receive child support payments from him can pursue a Non-Custodial Parent Application for Services through the local social services department or child support enforcement division. This application will involve DNA testing.
If the man is the biological father, this process will certify his parentage, and he may be required to pay child support. A party who refuses to consent to DNA testing could be held in contempt of court, meaning anyone who finds themselves in a contested paternity action should seek representation from a trusted attorney like Greg Steele as opposed to handling the case on their own.
Learn More about Paternity Establishment from a Seasoned Anderson Attorney
Establishing or challenging paternity can be an emotional process, regardless of who initiates the action and for what reasons. You can minimize the negative impact by working with an experienced Anderson paternity lawyer. Contact Greg Steele today to preserve your and your child’s well-being throughout the legal process.