Due to the emotional and financial implications, paternity issues can be extremely complex and inflammatory. Attorney Downs represents both mothers and fathers seeking to establish paternity and those seeking to refute paternity.

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With regard to married couples, there is a statutory presumption that the husband is, in fact, the biological father of the child, and legal paternity is “automatically” bestowed upon the husband. If the “father” accepts and holds out the child as his own for two years or more, the presumption becomes irrebuttable. Sometimes, however, there may a question as to whether or not the husband really is the biological father, such as in cases of non-access (through incarceration or otherwise) or impotence. In these instances, paternity may be disputed, by either parent, with blood and DNA testing often being the determining factor.

Having a child outside of marriage carries with it no such presumptions as to the legal fatherhood of the child. Paternity may be established by execution of a Declaration of Paternity form at the hospital when the child is born. Doing so provides some of the same rights and privileges to the father (and child) as a married father would have. The declaration, however, is not wholly dispositive. Problems can, and often do, arise because of the inherently less stable relationship between the parents. Parents may disagree on schooling, medical questions, or support for the mother or the child. Questions about custody or time-sharing can also arise if the couple does not live together or terminates their involvement with each other. In the worst of cases, the mother may not inform the father of the birth of the child or of the pregnancy. In other cases, the mother may be unsure as to whom the father is.

Expert legal advice is required for all of the aforementioned situations. The early years of a child’s life shape him or her into the person that he or she ultimately will become. It is important to “set things right” quickly and shield the child from unnecessary confusion and turmoil to the maximum extent possible. Expert legal advice can help in this regard.

For answers to your questions regarding your Paternity case, Call us today at (714) 538-3730 to schedule your free initial 30 minute in office consultation with Attorney Joseph P. Downs.

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