Philadelphia Paternity Lawyer
The question of paternity may arise whenever a child is born to unmarried parents, and there are multiple reasons a person might want to establish parentage. Legal parents have custody and visitation rights, and the parent who handles primary caretaker will have a financial interest in proving paternity for child support purposes. However, Pennsylvania laws on the concept encompass many other issues that both fathers and mothers might not expect.
As such, it is critical to retain skilled legal counsel for assistance with paternity matters. Whether you are seeking to prove it or defend the allegations, an official finding of parentage could have a profound impact on your future. The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane has extensive experience serving clients with these cases, so please contact us to speak to a Philadelphia paternity lawyer. We can set up an initial consultation to discuss details, and some general information is useful.
Legal Process for Parentage
The father is presumed to be the legal parent when a child is born into marriage, though this presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. Therefore, when parents are unmarried, there are affirmative steps that must be taken for the laws of Pennsylvania recognize the father. There are two routes for establishing parentage:
- Acknowledgement of Paternity: Parents can assent to the identity of the father by signing this document, which must be signed by both and witnesses by a third party. You can even handle all signing arrangements at the hospital when the baby is born
- Paternity Lawsuit: Either the mother or the father can file a case in court to establish paternity. Usually, these cases are decided on the basis of genetic testing.
Note that a state agency can also go through the process for establishing parentage, which is usually to address the issue of child support.
Effects of Establishing Paternity
Once parentage is established through one of the above methods, fatherhood is official for all legal purposes. However, paternity carries different implications that both parents should note:
A father has all the rights and responsibilities of a parent, though these do not arise automatically after proving paternity. It is still necessary to go to court for decisions on custody and visitation, which are made in accordance with the child’s best interests.
The mother has the right to seek child support, including past due support, from the father. However, the exact amount may be different after proving parentage as compared beforehand. The father’s rights to custody and visitation could reduce the child support obligation when he is spending more time with the child.
Essential Tasks in the Paternity Process
There are numerous variables involved with parentage cases, but the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane is ready to support both mothers and fathers with all contingencies. An experienced Pennsylvania paternity attorney will:
- Counsel you on the requirements and legal effect of an Acknowledgement of Paternity;
- Represent you in court for paternity proceedings, either by filing the petition or defending the allegations;
- Help you enforce the rights that come with a determination of parentage, including the right to important decision making and parenting time; and,
- Address the duties and responsibilities stemming from a finding on paternity, particularly child support.
Trust a Philadelphia Paternity Lawyer for Legal Advice
This summary of state laws on parentage is useful, but the details can be extremely complicated in a real-life case. You have important rights regardless of your position in the matter, so please contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to learn how we help protect them. We can schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia paternity lawyer who will provide personalized advice.