Being a parent is a huge responsibility and it’s not something to be taken lightly. In fact, many would argue that it’s more important than marriage. You can divorce a spouse but you don’t divorce your children.
We all know how easy it is to become a parent. You can know someone for one night and end up having a child with them. So, with dating comes responsibility. All adults must realize that a fling could turn into a lifelong commitment if it results in pregnancy.
Are you a man who is being told that he has gotten a woman pregnant? If so, it’s important that you understand your rights and responsibilities under Nevada’s paternity laws, particularly if a DNA test reveals that the child is in fact yours.
Understanding Paternity in Nevada
For starters, let’s discuss the term “paternity,” which simply means to make a child’s biological father the legal father as well. So, why is it important to establish paternity?
- It gives the child’s father the right to enjoy the father-child relationship because paternity gives fathers child custody and visitation rights.
- The child becomes entitled to child support.
- The child earns the right to inherit from his or her father.
- The child obtains Social Security and insurance benefit rights.
- The child can learn about their father’s medical history.
“How is paternity established in Nevada?” There are three main ways: 1) if the mother is married at the time of the child’s birth, her husband is considered the child’s legal father unless the court has issued an order stating that someone else is the child’s legal father, 2) the mother and alleged father sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or 3) after a DNA test is performed a court declares a man the child’s biological and legal father.
What if I Refuse to Acknowledge Paternity?
Suppose a woman is claiming you’re the father of her child but you deny you’re the child’s father. In that case, the child’s mother or the Nevada State Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (if the child is on public assistance) can file a paternity action. This would mean the court would require you to submit to a DNA test to establish paternity, and from there a hearing would follow.
“Who pays for genetic testing?” The court decides, but usually it’s the alleged father who pays. “How long does the mother have to establish paternity?” In Nevada, paternity can be established any time from when the child is born until before the child’s 21st birthday.
Related: Establishing Paternity in Las Vegas