Establishing paternity is a means of proving that someone is the biological father of a child. It is important to establish paternity because, in Rhode Island, biological fathers have certain rights and responsibilities. If you need help establishing the paternity of your child, or wish to contest it, let Moyer Law, PC assist you.
Establishing paternity can be crucial for many reasons, such as:
The most important reason for establishing paternity is to grant or enforce parenting rights. For example, a man may want to establish paternity to gain rights like visitation and custody, and a woman may want to establish paternity in order to seek financial support from the father through a child support order.
Our paternity lawyer represents clients throughout Rhode Island from our office in Warwick. If you need help establishing or contesting paternity, either as a father or a mother, we can use our extensive legal experience to guide you through this process from start to finish. Contact Moyer Law, PC today to learn more.
To work with a Rhode Island paternity attorney with more than 20 years of legal experience, contact Moyer Law, PC at (401) 305-2934 today.
Rhode Island allows for paternity to be simply established through marriage and the birth of a child. If you are married to someone who gives birth to a child, then you automatically establish paternity through that relationship, even if the child is not yours through blood or biology. Your name will be printed on the birth certificate as the child’s father. On the other hand, if you were not married when your child was born, then you will not be put on the birth certificate, and you will have to establish paternity after-the-fact.
Voluntarily Acknowledgement of Paternity
In order to establish paternity voluntarily, you and the child’s mother can agree to accept you as the legal or biological father. Completing a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form in the hospital after your child is born will establish you as the father when you are not married to the mother.
It is also possible to collect and use this form later – sometimes years later.
Using a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the time of your child's birth is the easiest way to establish paternity because there are no parties challenging the paternity establishment. However, if there are any challenges or complications, involuntarily established paternity may become necessary.
Seeking an Order of Paternity Through the Courts
When a child's paternity is unclear and/or is being disputed by one of the parties involved, it is known as involuntarily established paternity. In these cases, the matter would need to be settled in court.
A number of people can seek to establish paternity, including:
- The child’s mother
- The man who believes he is the father
- The man who believes he is not the father
- The child in question
- Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families
The process of establishing paternity involuntarily begins with a petitioner who files a "Complaint for Paternity" form. If the responding party – the mother or the father – does not cooperate with the petition, or if they do not want to voluntarily assign paternity, the court may decide to order DNA testing.
The father, the mother, and the child will all have their cheeks swabbed to test and compare DNA. Lab results will follow weeks after, showing (or disproving) genetic connections. If the lab is convinced that DNA is shared between the man and the child, the court will rule that he is the biological and legal father of the child.
Can You Object to a Court-Ordered DNA Test?
Do you have the right to decline a cheek swab test to establish paternity? Does that invade your privacy, to force you to take a DNA test? Due to the quick and non-intimate nature of a cheek swab test, it is not deemed an invasion of your privacy or violation of your bodily rights to be ordered to take one. If a court has valid reasoning for ordering such a test, you must comply. Otherwise, you could be held in contempt.
Call Moyer Law, PC to Get Started on Your Case
When it comes to establishing paternity with confidence, you should proceed with the assistance of an experienced paternity attorney in Rhode Island. Our firm can inform you of your rights and what to expect during the process of establishing paternity, either involuntarily or voluntarily. Call now to learn more.
Start your paternity case today by calling (401) 305-2934 and connecting with our paternity lawyer in Warwick. Moyer Law, PC is ready to help.
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