Child Support and Paternity Disputes
The move to establish or deny paternity most often occurs when a baby is born to unmarried parents who have never lived together. Determining paternity is essential to establishing parent rights to visitation/parenting time and to obtaining child support.
Once paternity is established, New Jersey law states that the child has a right to child support from both parents. Both mother and father are equally responsible according to the law to provide that support. In most cases, establishing paternity will also help a biological father establish the right to seek visitation/parenting time with his child. In some cases, involving a mother who has mental health or other issues that make her an unfit parent, the biological father can seek to obtain full custody of the child in question.
A paternity action will involve the alleged father undergoing DNA testing to determine whether his DNA matches the child’s DNA. This type of test is almost 100 percent accurate and can be taken even before the child in question is born.
Protect a Child’s Right to Support
If you are the mother of the child in question, you must file a paternity action to establish paternity of the alleged father to obtain a binding child support order from the family law court.
If you believe that you did not parent the child in question, then you must obtain a paternity test to prove that you are not the biological parent. If this is the case, then you will owe no child support to the child’s mother.
Who Can File a Paternity Action
Several people may file a paternity action. These include the mother of the child, the person who has custody of the child if for some reason that is not the mother or the father, the man who believes he is the biological father of the child in question, or any other person who has what is considered a justifiable interest in the child.
What If the Couple Was Married When the Child Was Born?
Under New Jersey law, a man can be presumed to be the child’s father when the child’s biological mother and the presumed father are or were married to one another, within certain time restrictions.
Even if the man is not the biological father of the child but for many years lived with the child’s mother and acted as if he were the parent of the child, he may be considered as a psychological parent in a family law court. This will entitle him to the same rights and responsibilities as a biological father.
Questions About Paternity and Child Support?
Contact an experienced paternity lawyer
When you retain an attorney at our southern New Jersey law firm, you are accessing a combined 65 years’ experience to protect your rights and help you find a workable solution to your legal challenge. We are here to protect your rights at every stage of a paternity and support matter, or any other family law concern.