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How do I establish paternity for my child?

Parents may want to establish paternity for both child support and child custody purposes. Establishing legal paternity of a child has many important implications including for child support and child custody but for emotional reasons as well.

The family law process serves as a resource for families looking to establish paternity. When a child is born while the parents are married, there is a presumption the husband is the father of the child. This is not true for unmarried parents so it is important for them to know how they can establish paternity. Paternity can be established after the birth of the child. If the parents get married following the birth of the child, they can sign a legitimation form establishing paternity. Additionally, paternity can be established voluntarily with a form that is signed and filed with the family law court.

Another option for establishing paternity is to file a paternity lawsuit with the court. Either parent, including the mother or putative father, can bring a paternity lawsuit to determine the legal paternity of the child. The court will order DNA testing of the putative father and child and determine legal paternity of the child. Paternity may also be established in other ways so parents should understand the options in their state. Once the legal paternity of the child is determined, parents can resolve child support and child custody concerns they may have with the help of the family law court.

There are many reasons why establishing paternity is important including for inheritance purposes, medical reasons and child support, child custody and emotional reasons. As a result, parents should know how to establish paternity and resolve their other family law concerns.

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Sevila, Saunders, Huddleston & White
30 North King Street
Leesburg, VA 20176

Toll Free: 800-239-4122
Phone: 703-468-0432
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