Areas of Practice
WHAT IS A PATERNITY CASE?
There may come a time during a legal dispute when a family lawyer may advise the necessity of a Paternity Suit. But what is a paternity suit, and why would you need to have such a procedure conducted in court? There is a very specific set of circumstances that would call for this, and those circumstances are tied in to child support.
Some parents fall into the unfortunate situation of having a child, with the enormous financial and emotional responsibility that this entails, but fail to receive proper financial or emotional support from the other parent. In some cases, the other parent will deny any responsibility for the child and thus, has no legal obligation to care for the child’s welfare. This is certainly the truth legally; no one expects strangers or casual friends to be exercise parental responsibilities, this is, after all, the legal duty of actual parents.
And this is where a paternity case comes in. If you know that the other parental figure is shirking these legal obligations by claiming there is no relation, a paternity case is a civil action executed in court to make a final, legal ruling about whether the other parent is, in fact, a legally designated parent. In a sense, this means “suing” the other party in an attempt to get a court ruling stating that there is a legal obligation to financially support a child.
In most cases, a paternity suit in the 21st century is much easier to carry out thanks to many medical and scientific advances such as DNA profiling that can conclusively prove genetic parentage of a child.
If you are seeking financial support for raising a child from a partner, only a voluntary acknowledgement from the other parent, or a Petition to Determine Paternity can grant this support from the court. You should talk to an experienced family attorney in order to fully understand this process and get the help you need. The general principles of paternity are similar throughout the country, but each individual state as some individual peculiarities in this area.