Montgomery County Paternity Lawyer

The legally recognized father of a child born in the state of Maryland has a lot of rights and privileges afforded to him under state law, as well as an obligation to financially support his child. Whether you want to pursue those rights and privileges, ensure your child receives the support they need, or just formally name your child’s father, establishing paternity may be crucial to both your and your child’s future.

While it is rare for paternity cases to proceed all the way to a family court trial, a Montgomery County paternity lawyer could work tirelessly on your behalf to help you prove paternity through any of the means allowable under state law. Alternatively, a qualified family attorney could assist you with the process of contesting paternity if you believe you may not be the biological father of the child.

How Can Paternity Be Established?

There are three methods by which a man may be declared a child’s legal father in Montgomery County, two of which occur relatively quickly after the child’s birth. First, as per Maryland Code, Estates and Trusts §1-206, any child born to a married couple is presumed to be a legitimate product of that marriage. In other words, state law assumes a mother’s husband is the father of any child she gives birth to, unless evidence is presented proving otherwise.

Second, if a child is born to someone who is not married, the child’s mother and father can legally establish the latter’s paternity by signing an Affidavit of Parentage. This legal document can be drafted immediately after the child’s birth or at any time before the child turns 18, and it can be used to establish paternity even if the father is under 18 or married to someone other than the mother at the time of the child’s birth.

Finally, either a child’s mother or alleged father can seek a judicial declaration establishing paternity over the child in question. Depending on whether one party objects to a motion to establish paternity, this process for establishing paternity may require the alleged father to undergo genetic testing. A qualified Montgomery County paternity attorney could clarify in further detail how this process works and whether it might be appropriate in a particular situation.

Contesting Paternity in Montgomery County

The specific way in which a child’s mother or alleged father can contest paternity depends on the method used to establish paternity in the first place. For example, Md. Code, Family Law §5-1027 establishes that any assumption of paternity established by marriage is rebuttable in court through a preponderance of available evidence.

Conversely, if a signatory to an Affidavit of Parentage wants to have that Affidavit rescinded, they generally must file a Rescission Form within 60 days after the Affidavit was first signed and submitted. However, if some form of fraud, duress, or “material mistake of fact” makes the original Affidavit invalid, a paternity lawyer in Montgomery County may be able to facilitate disestablishment proceedings after the 60-day deadline has passed.

Finally, a judicial declaration of paternity can only be rescinded if paternity was agreed upon by both mother and alleged father without any genetic testing being performed.

How a Montgomery County Paternity Attorney Could Help

Fortunately, if two parties disagree about whether a particular individual is a child’s father, genetic testing is almost always a dependable way of settling the matter once and for all. However, if you want to establish paternity any other way, or if you want to make sure genetic testing leaves no doubt as to a child’s parentage, assistance from a legal professional may be warranted.

A Montgomery County paternity lawyer could help you understand your legal options for declaring—or fighting—legal paternity and ensure you pursue the best one for your unique situation. To schedule a consultation and discuss your circumstances, call today.