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Whenever a child is born outside of marriage, which is almost a normative event in our culture today, the biological father has to take steps in order to establish his parenthood before he can obtain court orders protecting his custody and visitation relationship with these children. So long as there is no disagreement with the mother there is often not a problem, but disputes tend to happen sooner or later. Additionally, a biological father who has not been adjudicated the legal father may not be recognized by schools, medical providers, and others with some form of legal document.
Similarly, mothers who need child support from fathers are not entitled to orders awarding it if the father has not been declared or legally determined to be the biological father.
Either party may file a Petition to Establish Parental Relations.
In some circumstances a father has executed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity ("VDOP"), typically at the hospital on the day of the child's birth. The VDOP's have the legal effect of a Judgment of Paternity, but they may also be challenged and set aside for a limited period (usually two years) after they have been signed.
The Law Office of Michael Spiekerman has extensive experience handling paternity petitions and related proceedings. We can assist you in a professional and realistic manner in establishing paternity, defending against paternity claims, obtaining and modifying paternity child support, and in setting up and enforcing custody and parenting schedules.
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