Relationships can be complicated and sometimes situations may arise where there is question as to a child’s biological or legal father. Our Family Law team can assist with a wide range of paternity issues. Here are some things the courts will consider in paternity issues.
If the parties are married, the husband is the presumptive father and has the burden of proving that he was incapable of procreation or did not have relations with his wife during the relevant time period, such that he could not be the biological father to the child.
If the parties are not married and if there is a dispute as to the paternity of a child, the court will make a decision as to whether or not a presumptive father is in fact the legal father of the child. A court may make a determination that a putative father is the legal father, even if he is not the biological father.
Courts employ a “best interests of the child” standard in making this determination, which can include whether the putative father behaved as the father to the child, intended to be the father of the child and/or supported the child. Courts may also authorize genetic tests in order to determine the paternity of a child. If paternity is established, the court may additionally order that the father pay child support.