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There are a couple different ways to establish paternity in Omaha, as well as a few benefits to doing so. Our firm works with clients throughout Omaha in family-related matters, including establishing paternity for both the parents’ and the child’s benefit.
Ways to Establish Paternity
Paternity refers to the legal status of fatherhood. Generally, if a child is born during a marriage, the mother's husband is presumed to be the father of the child. When parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, though, paternity can be established in one of two ways in Nebraska – through a voluntary process between the parents or, if they cannot agree, through a court proceeding and DNA testing.
The simplest and often most cost-effective way to establish paternity in the state is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. By signing this document before a notary, both the mother and father agree who the child’s father is. Note that a completed form must be submitted to the Department of Health and Vital Statistics so the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate.
In situations where the mother and father can’t agree to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, the child’s mother or the person who believes he is the father of the child can file a paternity petition.
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Why Establish Paternity?
The legal status as "father" carries both rights and responsibilities to the child. The primary reason for establishing paternity is to benefit the child’s best interests by giving them the legal right to emotional and financial support from both parents, as well as important genetic information.
For the mother and the child, an order of paternity may allow the mother to receive child support and medical insurance from the child’s father to assist in clothing, feeding, and otherwise caring for the child. Additionally, by establishing paternity, the mother and child can also obtain information about the father’s medical history, which can be essential information if the child ever becomes ill or needs information about their genetic background. The child may also be able to receive inheritance benefits from both parents after establishing paternity, like Social Security and veteran’s benefits, if applicable.
For fathers, establishing paternity allows the father to seek custody or visitation (subject to a court's determination of the best interest of the child). This may include the right to be involved in making educational or medical decisions on behalf of the child.
Let Slowiaczek Albers & Whelan Help
Establishing parental rights and responsibilities is complex for both those who have been married and those who haven’t. Parents who have never married may face statute of limitations issues and genetic testing may be required, and parents who have never married may face different issues regarding retroactive child support and gaining access to their children. If you have legal concerns about establishing paternity in Omaha, consult an experienced lawyer for legal support.
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