Paternity & The Presumed Father

Fathers Day (Presumed Fathers…)

In the spirit of Father’s day we’ve decided to do a blog on Paternity issues. There are many aspects to fatherhood which are joyous, happy occasions. There are also many situations in which Paternity becomes a complicated mess. These are normally those situations where the father is ordered to pay child support. However, there are other benefits for a child provided paternity is established before the age of majority (19 years!). Establishing paternity gives this child the same legal rights as a child born to married parents. There are benefits that you can only receive if paternity is established such as Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits and inheritance rights.

Determining paternity and establishing paternity is normally when a lawyer is necessary or the court system needs to be involved. Here are a few situations in which you’d need help from the legal system (consider yourself to be an “alleged father if you are one of the following):

  1. You’ve been dating someone, and she’s become pregnant. You’re not sure if you’re her only sexual partner.
  2. You had a one night stand with someone or have been having sexual intercourse with someone, and she has become pregnant. Again, you’re not sure if you’re her only sexual partner.
  3. You’re married, and your wife has had sex with someone else.
  4. You’re not married, and your girlfriend has become pregnant.

Under Alabama Law, specifically, the statute that provides for “Paternity” of a child makes it pretty cut and dry as to what makes a presumed father. These situations are as follows:

  1. The father was married to the mother when the child was conceived or born (within 300 days of the end of the marriage).
  2. The father attempted to marry the mother (even if the marriage was invalid) and the child was born within 300 days of the end of cohabitation.
  3. The father married the mother after the birth & he either acknowledged paternity via writing to the Office of Vital Statistics, with his consent he is listed on the birth certificate, and/or agreed to support the child through an agreement or court order.
  4. The father welcomed the child into his home, and openly held the child as his own.
  5. The father acknowledged his paternity in writing.

In order to rebut this presumption, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that you, as Maury, would say “are not the father!” What does that mean? Clear and convincing evidence which is very hard to come by, but the number one way to do it? Paternity Test. Either you or the mother can file an action to establish paternity. Then you end up on the Daddy docket with all the other potential fathers awaiting your fate.

Even if you are not presumed to be the father, but you think you are, or possibly could be, once again, either of you can file to establish paternity. Then you move on to the next step…

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