How To Establish Paternity So You Can Receive Support for Your Child

If you recently had a child and the father is denying that he is the dad, this man is probably not helping you support this child at all. If you are in a situation like this, there are steps you can take to get the biological father to step up and do his part. Keep in mind, however, that there are also consequences you may experience if you go through the legal process of establishing paternity.

Hire an Attorney

Family law attorneys specialize in all types of family matters, including child support cases and proving paternity. If you want the father of your child to be responsible for helping you support this child, you may have to take legal action by hiring an attorney. This will probably be the only way you will get this man to do what he is supposed to do, but this will involve going to court.

How the Court Process Works

The first step your lawyer will take is pursuing paternity testing, which will usually involve a court order. Your attorney can prepare a summons for a court date for you and this man to appear before a judge. You may have to state your side of the case while in court, and you may have to include factors that prove that this man is the father of your child.

If the judge feels that this man is most likely the biological father, he or she will order a paternity test. When a man is ordered to go through paternity testing and refuses to do so, the court can arrest him for contempt of court.

If the man willingly admits he is the father, the court may forego the paternity test, but the man will have to sign a document acknowledging that he is the father of the child.

How Paternity Testing Works

If he is ordered to take a paternity test, he will have to go to a medical clinic that offers them. The clinic will swab his mouth, or possibly draw blood, and these samples will be used to test his DNA. The clinic will also need to take DNA from the child, and the two sets will be compared. The results of DNA testing for paternity cases are usually 100% accurate, and they can be used in court.

What Happens Next

After the results come in, the court will decide what to do next. If he is not the father, the case can be dropped. If the results prove he is the father, they will set up a hearing for child custody and support.

When a mother has custody of a child, the court will order the father to pay support for the child. The purpose of a custody and support hearing is to determine several things:

  • How much will the child support be—Courts typically use child support calculators to determine this amount, and it is typically based on the income of the father and mother. Once it is determined, your lawyer may request the court to put an order in for the child support to be taken directly out of the father's paycheck.
  • How they will share custody—If a man is the father of the child and is required to pay child support, he will also typically have rights to see and visit the child. This is the consequence you must pay if you go after child support for the child, but you can fight to have primary custody. The father would still see the child, but the child would be with you most of the time.

If you would like to learn more about paternity testing and child support, contact a family law attorney through firms like Thomas & Associates, PC. This is the best way to get a case started so you can hold the father accountable for his child.