Establishing paternity means identifying a child’s biological father. In some cases, this is ordered by the courts to determine who is financially responsible for a child. In these cases, refusal to take a paternity test can result in a default judgment. In other cases, fathers seeking to become a part of a child’s life, give the child a sense of family history and entitle the child to the benefits of being a dependent will bring paternity suits in Nevada.
What is a Paternity Lawsuit?
A paternity lawsuit seeks to establish parentage, along with the legal rights and responsibilities it entails. In Nevada, a paternity lawsuit can be brought by:
- A child
- A child’s biological mother
- A man presumed or alleged to be a child’s father
In Nevada, an “interested third party” can also bring a paternity suit. So too can the District Attorney be compelled to bring a suit on behalf of an interested party.
How Paternity is Established
In Nevada, if a child is born a) during a marriage or b) within ten months of divorce (or the death of the father), the child is presumed to belong to that husband. If the child is born out of wedlock, voluntary acknowledgment or legal action will be needed to establish paternity.
Voluntary acknowledgment occurs when the mother and father agree on paternity. If the father’s name was omitted from the birth certificate, a Voluntary Acknowledgment form can be filed to have the omission corrected. If there is disagreement or uncertainty, additional steps will be necessary.
Will my Case go to Court?
It is unlikely that paternity itself will face a trial. In cases where paternity is contested, the court may order genetic testing to be performed on all possible parents. Refusing to take this test can be seen as an admission of paternity and result in a default judgment of such. A trial is unnecessary in these cases. There is no arguing with genetic evidence.
There are, however, other considerations such as parental rights, child custody and visitation, financial support, and other considerations that may result in contention.
If you are in need of an experienced family law attorney, call Thomas C. Bradley at (775) 323-5178 and schedule a consultation today. Located in Reno, Attorney Bradley serves Sparks and all surrounding areas of Nevada.