What To Expect During Paternity Cases

divorce lawyer Caroline ThompsonQuestion:

My ex just called and told me that I am the father of her 5-year-old child.

What can I expect in terms of paternity proceedings, financial responsibility, etc.?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania family laws where I am licensed to practice.

If the mother and father of a child are married at the time the child is conceived, then it is presumed that the husband is the father of the child. Further, that husband would be placed on the birth certificate as the child’s father.

However, if the parents are unmarried, there are two options generally available:

1. If the parties agree, an acknowledgement of paternity (a formal document saying that “I am the child’s father”) can be signed and the father’s name can be placed on the birth certificate. Thereafter, that person will be considered the child’s father.

2. If the parties do not agree, they can have a paternity test completed to determine if the party is actually a birth parent.

Paternity tests are very non-invasive. Generally, it just requires a swab of the inside of the child’s mouth as well as the alleged father. Result times can vary from a few days to a few months.

If paternity is established, the father can seek custodial time with the child and could be liable for support of the child. Generally, before agreeing that you are the birth parent of a child, it is a safer option to have a paternity test completed prior to any acknowledgement of paternity being completed.

As mentioned previously, once paternity is established, the parent is liable for financial support of the child. If it is later found that the person who acknowledged paternity is not the birth parent but they have acknowledged paternity, then it can be very difficult to cease your presume financial duties to the child.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Caroline J. Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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