Paternity is the legal status that confers upon a man the rights and responsibilities of a father. When a couple is married, the law presumes the husband is the father of all children born during the marriage. But when a couple is not married, there is no such presumption. Legal steps are necessary before a man can be held accountable for a child or enjoy any of the benefits of fatherhood. At The Henry Law Firm, P.A., we represent various parties with an interest in paternity actions — mothers, putative fathers, and children. We take a hands-on approach, working closely with our clients to assert their rights effectively.
Different parties have different reasons for wanting to establish paternity:
On the other hand, a man may wish to disprove paternity, so he does not become legally obligated to care for a child who is not his.
When a couple is not married but wishes to establish that the man is the father of a child born to them, they can submit a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This form is binding and can only be nullified by a court order. A man who signs a VAP and later has reason to doubt he is the biological father can initiate an action to disprove paternity.
When the couple does not submit a VAP, a court order is necessary to establish paternity. Generally, the court will order some form of genetic testing. Genetic testing produces a result that suggests statistical probability of fatherhood and must be presented and interpreted by an expert. Other types of evidence are also admissible, such as:
Our family law attorneys draw on more than 25 years of combined experience to provide effective representation focused on the results you need.
Most often, a paternity action is a precursor to a mother’s petition for child support and/or a father’s petition for visitation rights. Since a finding of paternity imposes the legal status of a father on a man, it also establishes the legal grounds for those responsibilities and privileges. If you have any questions about your rights after a paternity ruling, our knowledgeable attorneys can provide the personalized counsel you need to address your concerns.
A paternity action has lasting consequences for all parties involved. The Henry Law Firm, P.A. partners with you to provide reliable counsel and determined representation that removes the stress from the legal process as we fight for the best outcome possible. Call the firm at 913-381-5020 to arrange your consultation or contact our Overland Park office online.