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Paternity Suits in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Family Law Attorneys – 401-400-4254

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 sensitive 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.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 blog.

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.

TJC • ESQ is now a part of Burns & Levinson, one of the largest and most respected family law firms in the nation. Learn more.

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