Towson Paternity Lawyer
There is rarely a question about who a child’s mother is, but the issue of fatherhood can sometimes be harder to pin down. If a child is born to married parents, the law presumes that the husband is the father. But if the mother isn’t married, then the child will be born without a “legal father” unless affirmative steps are taken to establish paternity under the law. Establishing paternity in some cases is a relatively simple matter, while in others it can be complex and contested, even requiring a hearing in court to sort out. A skilled family law attorney at Lebovitz Law is here to answer your paternity questions and guide you through any proceeding in or out of court if you are seeking to establish or challenge paternity. We represent mothers, fathers, children, and other interested parties in paternity proceedings throughout Baltimore County and Maryland. Contact our experienced Towson paternity lawyer today.
Why Bother With Paternity?
A child’s parentage has legal implications for mothers, fathers, and the children themselves.
- Mothers – Mothers who are caring for a child can go to court for an enforceable court order requiring the child’s father to pay support. If paternity has not been established, the question needs to be settled before the mother can get any court-ordered child support.
- Fathers – Even if the parents aren’t living together or raising the child jointly, the father might still want to play an active role in his child’s life. Fathers must get a legal declaration of parentage before they can go to court and seek orders entitling them to custody or visitation.
- Children – Children benefit from a legal standpoint from having a legal father, including the right to inherit. Children can also get Social Security benefits and veteran’s benefits through their fathers, and they can be entitled to health insurance through their fathers as well. Additionally, it’s important for children to know their family medical history and risk factors for certain diseases, and knowing who one’s parents are can be critical to issues of identity and self-esteem.
How to Establish Paternity in Maryland
The easiest way for an unmarried father to establish paternity is to complete an Affidavit of Parentage. This affidavit can be completed at the hospital. Nurses and hospital staff are familiar with this document, and they can help fill out the form and serve as witnesses. If done at the hospital when the child is born, the father’s name can be placed on the child’s birth certificate without any further steps needed.
Parents can also take the Affidavit of Parentage home with them and complete it at a later date. Both parents will have to sign the form in the presence of a notary and return the form to the Division of Vital Records. This can be done anytime before a child turns 18 years old.
An Affidavit of Parentage can be rescinded within 60 days if the mother or father has doubts about its authenticity. After that point, the affidavit can only be overturned by court order and only after proving the affidavit was completed under duress or due to fraud or a material mistake of fact.
The other way to establish paternity is by court order. If one party is contesting paternity, the court can order genetic testing. If the results are less than 99% certain or if parentage is still contested, the judge will hold a hearing and consider all relevant evidence before deciding paternity.
An Affidavit of Parentage is not an option if the mother was married at the time of the child’s conception or birth. In those circumstances, a court order would be necessary to establish paternity or overcome the presumption that the man married to the mother is the father.
Contact Lebovitz Law Today
A skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney at Lebovitz Law can answer all your questions related to paternity and guide you through the process of completing an Affidavit of Parentage. If paternity is contested or a court order is needed, we can protect your rights and represent your interests efficiently and cost-effectively. Contact our experienced Towson paternity lawyer today.