Baltimore, Maryland Paternity Attorney
Paternity is a difficult topic for many families. In some cases, a man may be reaching out to try to establish paternity to gain child custody rights. In others, a mother may be trying to prove a man is her child’s father to seek child support from him. In many cases, Maryland’s laws have answers for how the process works, and what is required.
Even though the laws on paternity may be quite clear, having an attorney help with your case is a great benefit. Baltimore paternity lawyer Ken Gauvey of The Law Practice of Ken C. Gauvey may be able to help you with your case. Whether you are trying to prove or deny paternity, Ken may be able to help. For a consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at 443-692-7685 today.
Establishing Paternity in Maryland
Under Maryland law, there are multiple ways to establish parentage. Because mothers are the one who actually give birth, there is no need for a mother to establish parentage. When the baby is born, the mother will be recorded on the birth certificate as the mother. If the mother is married when the child is born, the mother’s spouse will be recorded as the father. Traditionally, this made the mother’s husband the legal, and presumptive father. Since the 2017 case Pavan v. Smith, this can also apply to same-sex couples. Thus, the mother’s spouse (regardless of gender) can be listed as the other, legal parent.
If the mother is unmarried or divorced when she gives birth, parentage can still be established easily. If there is no doubt that a particular man is the child’s father – i.e. the mother’s boyfriend or partner – you may use an Affidavit of Parentage to establish him as the child’s legal father. These forms and documents can often be completed at the hospital when the mother gives birth. The nurses and hospital staff can act as witnesses, and help you complete these sworn statements. These forms should only be completed if:
- You are certain you are the biological father;
- This man is intended to act as the child’s father; and
- You have already consulted an attorney about this form.
You may refuse to complete the form at the hospital, and can take the time to discuss the form’s effects with an attorney. The form can be completed at a later date, and you always have the right to consult a lawyer before signing this form.
If the biological father is unavailable when the child is born, a form like this can be completed even years later if the father re-enters the child’s life. This still requires both the mother and the father to agree that this person is the father, and to willingly sign the form.
Suing for Paternity in Baltimore
Sometimes, a father refuses to acknowledge their children or a mother refuses to acknowledge the child’s father. This could be due to doubt that they are the actual father, or attempts to deny child support and other responsibilities. Alternatively, the mother may not want the father involved or acknowledged, and may refuse to agree that he is the father. In cases like these, either party may go to court to demand paternity testing.
The testing is usually paid for by the parent who requests the test. These DNA tests are often incredibly accurate, but do require both the child and the proposed father to be tested. This means you may need a court order to test the child if the mother refuses testing. The test is considered good scientific evidence of the child’s parentage, but is not 100% accurate or accepted. The court will hear other evidence for or against paternity, and consider it when determining whether to agree that the man in question is the father. If a paternity test is positive, but common-sense evidence refutes it (such as records that the father was out of the country during the child’s conception), courts may order re-testing or ignore the results.
A positive paternity test is not, by itself, enough to decide paternity or custody. A court order is required to give legal force to the paternity test, and you are “not the father” until the court says otherwise. Even if paternity is established, you will need additional court orders to establish custody rights, visitation, shared physical custody, or child support. Talk to an attorney for help filing for these court orders and achieving the custody and support situation you want.
Baltimore Paternity Test Lawyer
Baltimore family lawyer Ken C. Gauvey of The Law Practice of Ken C. Gauvey may be able to help with your case. With years of experience practicing law in Baltimore, Ken has helped hundreds of clients and families with their legal problems. Call our Baltimore law offices today to schedule a consultation. Our number is 443-692-7685.
Columbia, MD 21046