Every child has a biological father. The biological father is the man who contributed half of the child`s genetic makeup. The legal father may not be the biological father. The legal father is the man the law recognizes as the father of the child.
When a married couple has a child, the law automatically recognizes the husband as the child`s legal father; therefore, paternity does not need to be determined. When an unmarried woman has a child, an official act is needed to establish the legal father of a child. This is called the establishing of paternity.
Paternity can be established by:
The mother and the alleged father agreeing that he is the father of the child and then signing the Paternity Affidavit Form or the mother and the alleged father asking the court to officially declare that he is the child`s legal father.
Sometimes, parents may want proof that the man is the biological father of the child before he is named the legal father. In that case, the parents can request genetic testing. This testing can exclude a man who is not the biological father of the child, or it can create a legal presumption of paternity if the test results show a 99% or greater probability that the man is the father. Once paternity is established, an order for child support can be established.
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