Washington DC Paternity Custody/ Support Lawyer

When an unmarried parent seeks custodial rights of their child and/or support from a child’s other parent, the law requires that paternity be established first. A Washington DC paternity Custody/ Support lawyer could help you file an action to prove paternity if necessary or if you are seeking custody of your child or support from your child’s parent. A family law attorney could assess your situation and explore what legal options may be available to you.

Parties Who Can File a Paternity Action in Washington DC

There are several different parties who are eligible to bring a paternity action in Washington DC. First, the mother of a child may file a paternity suit, usually to pursue support from the child’s father. The child support services division may initiate a paternity action as well. Finally, the alleged father can also file a paternity action to gain access to a child that they believe to be their own.

Proving Paternity in DC

In Washington DC, there are three primary ways in which a man’s paternity can be shown. The first is through a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). If a child’s father and mother are not married when the child was born, but both parties sign an AOP, the child’s paternity would be presumed, and the name of the father would be entered on the birth certificate.

In situations where the child’s parents had entered into a domestic partnership or were married when the child was born, the father’s name would go on the birth certificate, and paternity would be established.

When neither of these scenarios applies to someone’s situation, a Washington DC lawyer could help someone petition the court for a paternity order. If a mother wishes to establish the paternity of their child, but the alleged father is in dissent, the mother could seek to demonstrate their child’s paternity through the Washington DC Child Support Services Division.

Once a petition is filed to establish paternity, the court would hold a hearing. The presence of the mother and alleged father is mandatory at this hearing. If the man alleged to be the child’s father still maintains that they are not the biological father or is uncertain as to the child’s parentage, the court could instruct them to submit to a DNA test. If the DNA test shows that the man is indeed the father of the child, the judge will grant a paternity order. A Washington DC attorney could help someone petition the courts for a paternity order or help a man facing a wrongful paternity case contest the action.

The Importance of Proving Paternity

There are several reasons that a child’s mother and/or father may seek to demonstrate parentage in a paternity action. Once the child’s paternity is established, the father is bound by certain legal obligations to their child. For instance, the court could require the father to pay child support to the mother. Establishing paternity can also reap many benefits for the child, such as entitling them to insurance coverage or medical benefits they would not otherwise have been afforded access to.

Speak with a Washington DC Paternity Attorney Today

If you need help filing a paternity action, you should get in touch with a Washington DC paternity lawyer. An attorney could evaluate the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth to discuss how to establish paternity best. Contact the legal team today to schedule your confidential attorney consultation.