When couples are unmarried, establishing paternity often becomes a factor determining the obligations and rights of both parents, including child support. Sometimes, a mother does not want to give the father contact, sometimes a father refuses to acknowledge the child. Once it’s established, both parents have equal rights and obligations to the child. This means that a father that wants contact with his child, where the mother is disallowing it, will have to establish fatherhood in order to establish his rights and obligations. Child support is part of the obligation a father gains in establishing his paternal rights.
Establishing paternity in the state of Alabama
If it is the father refusing to acknowledge the child as his, then the mother must bring the action in order to receive child support, which also gives the father rights to custody and visitation. Quite simply, a paternity determination creates two parents for the child, with all of the rights and obligations that come with parenthood.
When someone denies paternity, mother or father, a paternity test will be administered, which is a genetic test using DNA. This is a simple, non-invasive test with a cheek swab. The result of the test is given in a percentage form of likelihood that the father is the parent. A 95% or higher result is referred to as a “hot test,” meaning that this person in all likelihood, is the father. Tests are often 99.8 or 99.9%. On those, there is no reasonable doubt of the parentage. The “hot” test result does not mean that the result cannot be challenged under certain circumstances, for technical or other reasons, but the closer the number is to 100%, the less likely a contest will be successful.
Under Alabama’s Uniform Parentage Act, paternity actions must be filed prior to the child turning 19. Any action like this must be brought in a court where either the father, mother, or child live, and paternity, when court established, is done by the filing of an action for paternity.
If You Have Questions, We Can Help
Often paternity actions create great conflict and mistrust. You can rely on us to help you through this. You will not be alone in your efforts.
If DNA testing does not determine a biological link between the presumed father and the child, the court releases the presumed father from legal responsibility. Should this happen, our family lawyers will continue to help you determine the paternity of your child if you are the mother, or will shake your hand and wish you success in life if you are the not the father.
Need more information? Are you going through a similar issue? Contact our law firm to speak with a family lawyer at (256) 859-7277. We have offices in Huntsville & Birmingham, Alabama.