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What you should know about paternity suits

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2023 | family law

Whether you are a father seeking to get more time with your children or a mother seeking support, a paternity suit may be your only option. Pursuing paternity can be a complex process, but before you take the first step, you should know what you’re getting into.

Why would you need to establish paternity rights?

There are three main scenarios that call for a paternity test. They are:

  • When the mother wants to secure child support payments from the biological father.
  • When a father would seek to secure visitation or even joint custody of a child
  • When a presumed father wishes to avoid paying support for a child they are not the biological father of.

That last scenario is important. Kentucky law presumes the husband of a woman who gives birth – regardless of circumstances – is the father of the child.

Can you compel a paternity test?

In short, yes. You can compel a paternity test from a father or from a child, provided you follow the proper procedure. To get an order for a paternity test, the judge must decide that there is enough reason to order a test. However, if the child/potential father lives in another state, this process can become much more complicated.

What happens when paternity is established?

When genetic paternity is established, the parents are entitled to certain rights. The custodial parent – the one the child lives with – would typically receive child support. The established father would then have the opportunity for visitation and possible joint custody should they desire.

How long does paternity testing take?

Between the medical tests and the court cases, the establishment of paternity can take a few weeks. However, despite how fast it is, it can still be a disruptive process. It’s best to consider all your options before you make the decision to pursue paternity.