If a child is born out of wedlock, a father’s parenting time rights may depend on their ability to prove paternity. However, establishing paternity to ensure parenting time rights also comes with an obligation to pay child support. Conversely, proving paternity to collect child support payments will also mean that the paying parent now has parenting time.
How Can I Establish My Child’s Paternity?
DNA testing can confirm paternity. Depending on the circumstances of your relationship with the other parent, a mother and father can file an Affidavit of Parentage with the state to obtain paternity confirmation. If either party contests’ paternity, they may file a complaint for paternity, custody, and support in consultation with a family law attorney.
DNA is not the only factor impacting a father’s parenting time rights. As in other child custody matters, the court must determine what actions are in the child’s best interest. This evaluation will include an assessment of the father’s current role in the child’s life and their ability to provide a safe environment.
Establishing Paternity Means Child Support Payments
A paternity determination may also initiate child support negotiations. The court will likely order the secondary parent to provide child support payments to the primary parent to ensure the child has the resources they need to thrive.
It is essential for fathers seeking paternity to understand that parenting time rights and child support obligations go hand in hand. Likewise, mothers seeking child support must also know that this may impact the father’s right to parenting time.
Questions of paternity should be answered in consultation with an experienced family law attorney. You and your attorney will work together to advocate for a fair child support and parenting time agreement that reflects your desired family dynamic.