Before the advent of DNA testing, paternity issues included the validity of blood tests. While this issue no longer exists, the rise of surrogate parenting and in vitro fertilization has opened the door to new issues in the area of paternity litigation. Even the naming of an out-of-wedlock child has become an area of potential disagreement. Once paternity is established, access issues and support obligations arise and are sometimes dissimilar to the ones that we see in divorce situations, mainly because child support is the only payment that is required and often falls short of the legitimate needs of the dependent spouse. This imbalance often leads to serious controversy.
Establishing paternity benefits the mother, father, and child. The mother who wishes to establish paternity may be able to petition for child support from the child’s father, which can alleviate her financial burden. If the father fails to make child support payments, she can take steps to make him comply. By establishing paternity, a father has the legal right to file for visitation or custody. Paternity can also grant the child access to his or her father’s benefits, life insurance, and medical history. Paternity can be established by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity or by filing a paternity petition in court if one of the parents does not agree to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity. A mother can file a paternity petition up until the child reaches the age of 21.
Dobrish Michaels Gross LLP attorneys have significant experience litigating and resolving the issues that arise in paternity cases. We have represented individuals in cases involving professional athletes, celebrities in the film and music business, high-level business and finance people, and numerous professionals in paternity and paternity-related matters. We are vigilant in trying to make sure that these cases are handled with professionalism and utmost discretion.