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How do I establish paternity?

There are many reasons to establish paternity. Oftentimes, fathers want to gain custody of their child, or give him or her social security benefits and the other rights children can reap. Mothers often desire to establish paternity in order to get child support from the biological father when he has denied paternity. If the child is born to a married couple, paternity is automatically given to the spouse and with that comes all the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood. By the same token, if the couple ties the knot after the mother becomes pregnant but before the birth, the husband is presumed to be the father.

But what happens if an unmarried couple gives birth to a child? If the parents are sure who the father is, they can both sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and file it with the courts. If the woman believes one man to be the father but he refutes it, she can file a paternity lawsuit to force the probable father to show up in court and perhaps take a DNA test. If the courts find that he is the father, he will be required to pay child support. 

At any point during the process, the mother and probable father can come to an agreement. One such agreement could be for the father to pay a lump sum. In return, the mother agrees to pursue no further child support from him.

For help with establishing paternity or challenging paternity, it may be a good idea to seek the help of an attorney.

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