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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > Proving Paternity of a Child

Proving Paternity of a Child


It is very difficult for single mothers to raise children on their own, both emotionally and financially. Mothers around the world work daily to provide a stable home while being the only one bringing in financial support. While establishing paternity will not solve all of the issues involved with single parenting, it is a way to possibly get some support from the man who fathered the child.

When legal experts talk about establishing paternity, it means determining who is the legal father of a child. This legal distinction means the man is connected to the legal obligations and rights of parenthood. So, a child can have a biological father but not a legal father. Paternity is connected to legal fatherhood. If you have questions about what these distinctions mean for your family, talk to a Bucks County family attorney.

Establishing Voluntary or Involuntary Paternity

Paternity can be established throughout a person’s childhood. In Pennsylvania, the possibility of establishing paternity can occur until a person reaches their 18th birthday. This typically happens in one of two ways.

Voluntary paternity is when the parents, both mother and father, agree the man is the biological parent. There are forms signed in front of a witness. Often this will occur when a child is born, at a hospital. If a baby is born outside of a hospital or the paperwork needs to be done after the baby is a newborn, forms can be obtained at a local Department of Public Welfare. The father’s name is then put on the child’s birth certificate.

There are situations where a man claims he is the father but the mother will not sign the form. In those circumstances, the claim of paternity will be filed, but rights will not be granted, such as visitation, until paternity is established. The father may have to go to court to do this.

Reasons to Establish Paternity

Going to court and having a judge move forward with an Order of Paternity can be complicated. DNA tests might be used. If a man is proven to be the legal father of the child, he will have rights and responsibilities in the raising of the child.

While the journey can be complicated, there are reasons why parents decide establishing paternity is the best move for their family. Once a man is established as the legal father, child support can be obtained by court order. Also, the rights of a legal father could include custody or visitation rights. Some instances include children accessing Social Security benefits, medical benefits, life insurance benefits, and inheritance rights.

Contact a Family Lawyer Today

Are you a single mother struggling financially and your child’s father is absent? There are ways to establish financial support which can make a substantial difference in your ability to provide for your family. An experienced Bucks County family lawyer can help. Discuss your concerns with the attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Our lawyers pay attention to every detail and work for you. Schedule your consultation today, call 215-968-6602.


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