According to the
American Psychological Association, “about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States
divorce.” What’s more, the APA says the divorce rate is even
higher for second and subsequent marriages.
Given the rate of
divorce, it’s no wonder why so many people decide to never marry, or take
their time getting to know each other (sometimes for many years) before
tying the knot.
With so many couples delaying or avoiding marriage, more and more children
are being born out of wedlock than in previous generations. Partially,
because it’s become socially acceptable. This trend has raised legal
questions over a father’s rights and responsibilities towards his
children and the need to
What it Means to ‘Establish Paternity’
Technically, paternity simply means fatherhood. To “establish paternity”
means to determine who a child’s legal father is. In modern-day
child custody cases, the gender gap has closed; both mother and father are entitled
to enjoy the parent-child relationship; however, fathers have to jump
through more hoops to enjoy this relationship.
We like the way Clark County Nevada puts it, “both parents and the
child deserve an opportunity to develop, enjoy and grow in this relationship.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Key benefits of establishing paternity:
- The child can know who his or her father is.
- The father’s name goes on the birth certificate.
- The child can be financially supported by both parents.
- The child can know their father’s medical history, so they can know
if they have a family history of certain diseases.
- The child can be entitled to Social Security benefits on the father’s
work record (does not reduce the father’s benefits).
- The child can enjoy inheritance rights from both parents.
- The child is entitled to health insurance from both parents.
- Most importantly, the child can enjoy a meaningful relationship with his
or her father.
How Paternity is Established in Clark County, Nevada
There are two main ways paternity is established when a biological father
is not married to the child’s mother: 1) both parents voluntarily
acknowledge paternity by signing and notarizing a paternity affidavit
and filing it with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, and 2) through
a genetic test and a court order.
If the mother or father are not 100% sure who the child’s father
is, they should not sign the paternity affidavit. Instead, either parent
can hire a private family law attorney to help them with the paternity
and custody action.
Please note: Until paternity is established through a paternity affidavit (signed by
both parents) or a court order, the court cannot make orders for
child support, child custody or visitation. Once paternity is confirmed, the father
can petition the court for custody or
visitation. It’s important for mothers to understand this, especially if
domestic violence is an issue.
Need a Las Vegas family law attorney to assist you with a paternity action?
Contact Leavitt Law Firm to schedule an appointment.