Would you like to establish your fatherhood in the eyes of the law, in order to assert your right to spend time with your child? Do you need to prove that someone is the father of your child, so that you can assert your child’s right to receive support?
For dependable advice from experienced family law attorneys about the determination of paternity and child support obligations in Maryland and Washington. contact Bromberg Rosenthal LLC in Rockville. We advise unmarried fathers and mothers about the two main issues at stake in paternity cases: determining the identity of the father of a child whose parents are not married, and establishing the child support obligation that the father will need to pay.
During more than three decades of practice, our lawyers have worked with many fathers who are interested in establishing an enforceable right of regular visitation or shared custody arrangements. We have also represented many mothers who have good reasons for opposing such claims. The determination of paternity by itself will not define the specifics of physical custody or a parenting time schedule, but the father can apply for visitation or custody during or after the paternity proceedings.
“Paternity” refers to the legal establishment of who is the father of a child. DNA testing can establish paternity with a very high degree of accuracy, but it is generally only done in highly contentious cases where the facts cannot otherwise be established. In many cases, there is no dispute and paternity is established voluntarily.
It is also important to know that a man other than the biological father may establish paternity. In some cases, a non-biological father (a stepfather, for example) who claims a close and mutually acknowledged relationship that is encouraged by both parents can be recognized as an “equitable father” whose claims supersede those of the biological father. In other cases, a man may be the “presumed father” if he claimed the child as his own after his or her birth.
An unmarried father who is interested in establishing a close relationship with his child will usually find that a formal visitation order can protect him from the problems that can arise when the mother has exclusive custody and parental rights. When a formal child custody order and visitation order are in place, the father’s parent-child relationship can benefit significantly.
Once an unmarried father has his right to parenting time recognized, he will also be protected from the mother’s unilateral decision to move to another state with the child. Once the basic support, custody and visitation orders are in place, both parents are protected and either can seek modification or enforcement of the arrangements in much the same way that divorced parents can after a divorce decree.
If you are a mother who would like to contest a putative father’s claim to paternity, our attorneys can offer help with that too. You and your child do have legal protection from false claims. Similarly, it is possible for mothers to file a paternity suit to force a man to acknowledge and support his child. If you are a mother facing financial challenges, your state’s child support agency may be able to file the suit on your behalf — contact them for details.
With more than 30 years of family law experience, Bromberg Rosenthal LLC can help you find the right approach toward the resolution of child support and parenting time issues that can arise between unmarried parents.
Contact our Rockville paternity attorneys to discuss your case, or call us today at 301-251-6200.