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Questions about Paternity Law and Paternity Rights

In most cases, legal recognition of paternity by the court is that the father is responsible for monetary support of the child in accordance with each state’s child support guidelines. The father also has the right for legal, enforceable visitation. Many times paternity acknowledgement is used to establish and enforce child support when custody is granted to the mother. The provisions of paternity laws and their application to individual cases can lead to legal questions like the ones below.

In Indiana, can someone be forced to pay child support if they didn’t know they had a child for 17 years?

In the state of Indiana the law on paternity declares that paternity action must be enforced within two years after the birth of the child. If there was no child support filed during this time frame, in most cases child support cannot be filed after 17 years.

In California, does the parent of a child have to let the other parent take the child if the custodial parent is not paying child support or if the child is in danger?

In California, if the parent feel as if their child may be in danger, the petitioning parent can request that the other parent has visitation of the child but does not take the child out of their sight until the court decides otherwise. As for the child support, the petitioning parent can go before the judge, and the judge can set a minimum amount if the other parent is not working. If the other parent is working then the judge usually takes out a percentage of the wages as child support. However, visitation rights cannot be taken away without a court order due to lack of child support.

If a parent has moved out of state, how long do they have to file for a paternity petition?

There is no predefined time window set for a parent to file a petition for paternity. However, if the parent waits too long, the court may probably not recognize or award it. The law on the timeframe differs from state to state.

Is it illegal in the state of Illinois for a parent to get a DNA test on the child without the other parent knowing?

In Illinois, it is usually not considered illegal for a parent to get a DNA test on the child without the other parent’s knowledge, especially if the parent getting the DNA test has been taking care of the child since birth. It would usually be seen as their right to know for sure whether or not the child is actually theirs.

If someone lives in a different state, how do they go about suing for paternity if they don’t know the child’s name?

The person does not need to know a child’s name in order to sue for paternity. However, the person needs to file the case in the state where the child resides.

Parents need to keep in mind that acknowledgment of paternity doesn’t always establish legal court recognized paternity rights. Establishing paternity rights should always be sought through court action in order to create a permanent record on file. There are many different names used to acknowledge paternity: Declaration of Paternity, Recognition of Parentage (ROP), Paternity Establishment, Paternity Opportunity Program (POP), and A Simple Acknowledgment of Paternity (ASAP Program). Differing state laws, a number of process and programs and the uniqueness of individual cases can all lead to legal uncertainty.
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