Articles Posted in Paternity

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The importance of a child having a relationship with both parents is beyond dispute. Not only do children look to their parents for financial and emotional support, but children may be entitled to an inheritance or other benefits based on the status of their parents. Establishing paternity can also be important to mothers who are seeking an order for child support to assist with raising a child or fathers who wish to obtain child custody or visitation rights. In Rhode Island family court, paternity can be established in one of several different ways. If you have questions that relate to paternity, reach out to a Rhode Island family law attorney.

Establishing Paternity by Agreement

Perhaps the most straightforward way to establish paternity in Rhode Island is through an agreement by the parties. If a man is present at the birth of a child, he can be listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father. If a father is not present at birth, or only later agrees to be named as the father of a child, the parties can name a man as the father of a child at the Office of Child Support Services.

Establishing Paternity by DNA Test

If the parties do not agree on the issue of paternity, the court may order a DNA paternity test. Under Rhode Island General Laws section 15-8-11, a court can order a paternity test if paternity is disputed. If the test returns a result indicating that a man is at least 97% likely to be the father, the results will create an irrebuttable presumption of paternity presuming the moving party can establish that the child’s mother and putative father had sexual intercourse during the period when the child was conceived.

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It has been five years since Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage. However, many Rhode Island LGBTQ advocates feel that there are still other rights related to families and parenting that still need to be won. A big concern involves the way that parental rights are bestowed in the state and how that affects same-sex couples.

Reproductive Technology

Reproductive technology has come a long way in the last decade, and the law is having a hard time keeping up. Reproductive technology includes in vitro fertilization, donor sperm, intra uterine insemination and/or surrogacy. Many states have laws that address some aspects of reproductive technology. Rhode Island is one of the few states that has no laws that cover these issues. Continue reading →

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In the early 2000s, a Florida resident (plaintiff) attempted to establish that a Rhode Island resident (defendant) was the natural father of her minor child, CMH. Defendant filed for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s former husband was determined to be the father of CMH based on a Florida divorce judgment. In May 2002, the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed the family court’s judgment granting summary judgment to defendant.

This Rhode Island family law case arose from a relationship between the plaintiff and defendant from 1976 and 1996. During an interruption in the affair in 1983, the plaintiff married BH on January 14, 1984. Despite the marriage, the plaintiff’s sexual relationship with the defendant resumed in 1985 and continued into 1996.

In 1985, the plaintiff conceived CMH. In 1989, the marriage between the plaintiff and BH ended and they were divorced. The judgment stated that CMH was “born of the marriage.” BH did not dispute this finding and agreed to pay child support.

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