Determining Paternity: Voluntary and Formal Proceedings

Voluntary Paternity Proceedings

Establishment of paternity does not always involve a court battle. Sometimes, the father may be willing to support to child but may want to be certain that he is the biological father of the child. So before making the child support payments or getting emotionally involved in the life of the child, the father may want to determine the paternity.

Some fathers believe that they have been kept in the dark about the children they may have fathered and as such denied access to the children especially in cases where the mother may not have wanted the children to have any contact with the father.

Lastly, many men fear that they will not know until many years later and probably at an inappropriate time that they have father some child. To protect themselves against this, they may voluntarily submit to a DNA test and in some circumstances compel the women with whom they had sexual relations to submit to a pregnancy test. This will almost certainly end the relationship but the men know that one fine day in future they will not be jolted by some child calling them “Father”. The law allows only the man claiming to be the father of an unborn child to file a paternity suit.

Formal Paternity Proceedings

Generally, a paternity suit is in the form of a civil lawsuit. The exact procedure varies from state to state. The action must be initiated before the death of the alleged father so that the person can has a fair chance of defending himself. If the action is filed after the death of the alleged father, the person must have done some affirmative action to acknowledge the child before his death such as identifying the child as his own in some formal or legal action or putting his name on the birth certificate as the father.

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