Establishing paternity is often a crucial issue when an unmarried mother seeks child support or a father wants a legal relationship with a child, even after a divorce for example.
Pennsylvania Code Rule 1910.15. Paternity lays the ground rules for how you can establish paternity in Pennsylvania. The main two ways are:
- Acknowledgment of paternity. The father acknowledges his paternity by filing the proper form with the PA Department of Public Welfare. The form also includes the mother’s consent which serves as a witness statement to the father’s paternity of her child. Acknowledgements of paternity are conclusive evidence of paternity, meaning no other proof is required.
- Genetic testing. Genetic testing is more legally complicated than acknowledgement of paternity. When the court orders parties to appear for genetic testing and the alleged father fails to appear, the court will find that the man is the child’s father. When the mother is the plaintiff and she fails to appear at the hearing, the court dismisses the paternity case. Once genetic testing is done, if the testing shows a 99 percent or greater probability that the man is the child’s father, the court determines him to be the biological father. If the test results show less than a 99 percent or greater possibility of parentage, the case goes before a judge for trial.
Some men find themselves defending against paternity fraud. In paternity fraud, the mother tries to falsely lead the man into believing he is the child’s biological father when she knows this is not the case. Paternity fraud can apply to situations where couples are unmarried or married. In these types of lawsuits, the father rather than the mother is the plaintiff bringing the action to compel genetic testing.
Whatever your concerns are about paternity, a skilled family law attorney at Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C. can help protect your rights.