Paternity Suits in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Family Law Attorneys – 401.216.4414
According to the State of Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services,
more than half of the children born in the state will not have their father’s
name on their birth certificate. Some of these absences are due to a mother
not being married at the time of delivery, others are due to clerical
errors that can be readily corrected, and more still are due to the father
or the mother not knowing with certainty who is the biological father
of the child.
If you have run into any sort of paternity issue, it is imperative that
you sort it out as soon as you can. With TJC ESQ and our Rhode Island
paternity lawyers, you can move forward with the important process of
establishing paternity without making any assumptions or mistakes. With
more than 30 years of experience handling some of the most complex and
family law cases in the state, you can be confident that our legal professionals will be
more than capable of handling your paternity issue efficiently.
Want to get to know TJC ESQ more? Your first
consultation is FREE!
Different Reasons to Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity with certainty is generally considered a beneficial
process for everyone involved, no matter the final outcome. Each family
member interested in a paternity test may have significantly different
reasons for wanting to establish paternity, however.
Consider these reasons why establishing paternity can be advantageous:
Mother: If a child does not have a father listed on his or her birth certificate,
it can be difficult for the mother to receive any form of
child support from an ex-husband. Even if the ex-husband helped raise the child for
a considerable amount of time, a divorce court may limit the amount of
support payments a mother can receive until paternity is officially established.
Father: On the other side of the family, a father may want to establish his own
paternity to help gain
child custody and
visitation rights. With no paternity officially established, a mother may prevent
a father from seeing his child, almost by default.
Child: It may not come up in many paternity cases but a child also has the right
to request paternity be established. Not only can a child find a stronger
sense of identity in knowing with certainty who are both his or her parents,
the child can also gain social security benefits, veteran’s benefits,
and opportunities to gain inheritance once paternity is established officially.
Three Ways to Establish Paternity
How does Rhode Island establish paternity, accept the identity of biological
fathers, and add their name to a child’s birth certificate? The
process can be quite simple or it can be complex. It all depends on how
a father reacts to the request to accept paternity of a child.
Immediate signing: A father can accept paternity right after a child is born by signing the
birth certificate then and there. In Rhode Island, a mother and father
who establish immediate paternity may also choose the child’s last
name if the mother is not married to another.
Office signing: If for whatever reason the father is not present at the hospital when his
child is born, he can request to acknowledge paternity at the Office of
Child Support services later. The child’s last name may not be changed
at this point but can be later through the Rhode Island Family Court.
DNA testing: Paternity that is contested may be brought to the attention of the court
through a formal and legal complaint. If a man still will not acknowledge
that they are the paternal father of a child, he, the mother, and the
child will undergo DNA testing. This is accomplished using mouth swaps
– blood tests have been phased out in Rhode Island for more agreeable
measures. If the test confirms he is the father, the court will order
that he acknowledge his paternity.
De Facto Parent Claims
Official and biological paternity certainty holds a great deal of weight
in courtrooms but it is not the only form of paternity a family law court
will recognize. If a man has spent years with a child and raised it lovingly,
he can earn “de facto” paternity, or paternity that is established
and recognized as legal due to a psychological connection between a child
and someone he or she perceives to be his or her real father. In 2015,
TJC ESQ won a complicated paternity case due to proving that a man was
the “de facto” father of his child – you can read about
this case in more by visiting
Our Rhode Island Family Law Attorneys Can Help
We genuinely want to be the ones who help families through difficult times
and legal disputes, including paternity cases. If you would like our legal
counsel and representation, please do not hesitate to get in
contact with us. If your child is already an adult over the age of 18, you must
be even quicker to seek our guidance, for a court will not mandate paternity
establishment of someone who is 22 years of age or older. Begin today
with no money down by requesting a
FREE initial consultation with our caring and compassionate team.