Children need fathers for both emotional and financial support. Knowledge of who one's father is allows one to know one's medical history and background, and it also allows a child to get to know about their origins. Children can inherit from a father and be named on insurance coverage. They sometimes may be entitled to veteran's benefits or Social Security benefits, depending on who the father is. If you are concerned about a paternity dispute in Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Massachusetts, you should consult the Rhode Island paternity lawyers at Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC.Establishing or Contesting Paternity
Paternity can be established voluntarily by a father immediately after a child's birth. The parents can sign a voluntary affidavit of paternity, adding a father's name to the child's birth certificate. Alternatively, a father can voluntarily acknowledge his paternity at the Office of Child Support Services. In either case, the parents must watch a videotape, read a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and sign an affidavit.
In some cases, a person is the presumed father under the law. When a married couple has a baby, the husband is presumed to be the baby's father. In that case, the presumption still can be rebutted in court. A dispute involving the child of a presumed father is a dispute affecting the parent-child relationship.
However, there are situations in which an alleged father does not want to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. In that case, whoever alleges paternity bears the burden of proving the paternity of an alleged father. Usually, this entails genetic testing. An alleged father is someone who is claimed to be the father but who is not a presumed father, does not appear on a child's birth certificate, and has not signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity. A lawsuit to establish paternity is called a Suit to Determine Parentage. A paternity attorney in Rhode Island can advise you on whether this may be an appropriate course of action to pursue.
If the alleged father does not wish to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, the Office of Child Support Services can file a Complaint for Paternity naming the alleged father. The mother can sign a verified complaint and affidavit establishing supporting facts. In response, the father can admit that he is the father, or he can ask that a DNA test be performed. Forms to get the DNA test done can be obtained online, and the DNA test is scheduled at the Office of Child Support Services. The State pays the initial cost, but if the father is found to be the father by the court, he must reimburse the State the $200 representing the cost of the test. The DNA test involves swabbing the inside of the mother, father, and child's cheeks, and it takes about 30 days for the state to get the result. The state files a motion to dismiss or asks the court to adjudicate that the alleged father is the father based on the DNA results. Finally, if the alleged father does not answer at all, a default is taken, the court will find that he is the father, and a motion will be filed for support.
A person who believes that he is a child's father can file a complaint of paternity to formally establish paternity. Our Rhode Island paternity attorneys can help fathers with this legal process. If the mother disputes paternity, the court can order a DNA test to establish the biological father's identity. Usually, a DNA test proves or disproves paternity. If the court determines that the person claiming to be the father is the biological father, it issues an order of paternity, and the father's name is set forth on the child's birth certificate.
Once paternity has been determined, a father has all of the same rights and duties as other fathers. These include child support obligations and rights for visitation and custody. A mother of a child can ask for child support and medical insurance coverage if paternity has been established. The amount of support is calculated under the Rhode Island Child Support Formula and Guidelines. The mother can collect past due amounts for a period of six years prior to filing a paternity complaint.Consult a Paternity Lawyer in Rhode Island or the Neighboring States
If you are going through a paternity dispute or another family law matter, such as an adoption, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney. At Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC, we believe in nurturing close and trusting relationships with our clients. Our firm represents people in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We have offices in West Warwick, Westerly, and Hartford. Call us at (401) 300-4055 or complete our online form for an appointment.