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The importance of determining paternity

The importance of determining paternity

Determining paternity has important emotional and legal implications for both the child and family involved. In addition to knowing the identity of the child’s biological father, the process of determining paternity can have important implications for child custody and visitation, child support, health care issues and inheritance concerns, among other important considerations.

A paternity action is an action filed in civil court to determine the biological father of a child. Both the mother and the putative father of a child can file a paternity action to determine the biological father of the child. Once paternity has been determined, it can have important legal implications for both the child and parents.

Paternity can be established in different ways. If it is disputed, a paternity action can be filed and the family law court can help determine paternity of the child by ordering a DNA test of the putative father and the child. Paternity can also be determined in other ways. It can be agreed to by the parents or is presumed if the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth or the child is born shortly after the marriage. In addition, if the father holds the child out as his own and takes the child into his home, paternity may be established that way as well.

Following a determination of paternity, then the parents can ask the family law court to help them with important considerations including developing a child custody and visitation agreement and establishing child support. Because establishing paternity can have a significant impact on the parents and child financially and emotionally, it is important to understand the process and its legal significance.

Source:, “Paternity; An Introduction,” Accessed May 10, 2018

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