Across the United States, almost 40% of children are born to unmarried parents. Unmarried parents face obstacles that married couples do not. Besides the fear and uncertainty, unmarried parents have to worry about establishing a workable visitation schedule, making realistic plans for the child’s education and religious upbringing, detailing expectations for child support. These issues must be worked out with an eye toward the long-term sustainability of and all-but-impossible to know future. This is where the guiding hand of an experienced attorney can help you avoid obstacles, arbitrate workable solutions and gain peace of mind. Jamie L. Anderson has been helping parents in the Miami Valley since 2006. If you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, give her a call at (937)879-9542.
Establishing “paternity” is the process of going to court to begin the legal relationship between a father and his child. Legally, paternity can only be established between unmarried parents since any child born during a marriage is presumed to be the husband’s child. We, as a society, have a vested interest in helping to establish the father-child relationship because a strong fatherly influence aids in the emotional, spiritual, and financial wellbeing of his child. Paternity actions are typically heard in your county’s Juvenile Court. If you wish to reach a voluntary agreement regarding paternity, you need to complete an “Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit.” Often, this form is completed at the hospital at the time of birth, but you can also execute this form at your county’s CSEA office. There is also a provision in the law allowing you to establish paternity at the Vital Statistics Registrar. Upon completion of these forms, paternity is considered established.
My office represents father’s who wish to have a role in their child’s life, but get frustrated by unreasonable restrictions placed on visitation by the mother. Filing a paternity action is the first step in getting visitation with your child. It is also the first step in establishing your right to obtain custody of your child. I also represent women who are in desperate need of financial support to raise a child. Establishing paternity is the first step in securing child support. If you want to have a paternity test administered and the other party is not willing to be tested, contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency. Once you request that a paternity test be administered, the agency will order that both parties submit to testing at the department’s lab. Both the mother and father, as well as the child, will be tested as stated above. The lab at the CSEA will conduct the test to determine paternity and will send the results to the court and to both parties. If either party refuses to submit to the DNA test, that refusal will be referred to Court and may result in a contempt of court charge.
When your child’s future is on the line you should contact an attorney who will help you create the types of relationships you want and deserve. Establishing paternity is usually the first step in what can be very complicated custody, visitation and child support proceedings. A good attorney can help you with issues such as birth expenses, dependency tax exemptions, the child’s name, health insurance and the complexities of visitation. Often, the presence of an attorney will give you the power and perspective to negotiate a lasting security for all parties.