Key Information to Keep in Mind When Establishing Paternity in NJ
Establishing paternity in New Jersey begins the path that further determines a child’s parental relationships and benefits.
Parents are legally responsible for the health and welfare of their children whether or not they are in a relationship together. By demonstrating or refuting paternity, the courts can thereby determine who will be obligated to see to their care and education. Determining paternity is a process that can be complicated when the child’s father refuses to accept responsibility. It is best to work with an experienced New Jersey attorney who can help answer your questions regarding paternity and give you the guidance you need.
Understanding the Concept of “Establishing Paternity” in New Jersey
Before the court can obligate a father to pay child support, it must be proven that the child is legally that person’s child. This is called “establishing paternity.” Sometimes this proof is biological, meaning the child has matching DNA, and sometimes it’s legal, for example, if the parents were married at the time of conception.
What is a Presumption of Paternity?
Presumption of paternity is the father’s voluntary acknowledgment that he is the child’s biological father refers to the court’s assumption of who the biological father is based on several factors. If the couple is married 300 days before the child’s birth, it is assumed the husband is the father. Also, if he was married to the child’s mother but passed away or divorced within 300 days of the child’s birth. When the baby is born at the hospital, the parents fill out a form called a Certificate of Parentage form, which is a written admission of paternity.
Suppose a man marries the mother after the child is born. In that case, he will be assumed to be the father if he agrees to pay support, talks about being the child’s father, requests to be put on the child’s birth certificate, and writes to the state Registrar to confirm his paternity. If the mother and father remain unmarried, it is assumed he is the father when he pays child support and openly acknowledges his paternity before the child turns 18 years of age.
Implications of Signing A Birth Certificate to Establish Paternity
As long as the father and mother have completed the Certificate of Parentage, they are legally the mother and father of the child, and their names will be put on the birth certificate. If the mother refuses to put the father on the birth certificate for one reason or another, he can ask the court to require a DNA test to prove paternity. Once the results are established, the registrar will be notified, and the birth certificate will be corrected to include the father’s name.
Importance of Establishing Paternity in Passaic County, NJ
Establishing paternity provides a broader range of resources for the child in question. A request for child support cannot be filed until paternity is legally resolved. This also allows for the father to request custody or visitation. Another benefit is knowing one’s medical history. There are dozens of hereditary medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis. Understanding these genetic conditions could mean early treatment or total prevention of serious problems later in life. Eligibility for medical insurance on the father’s health plan is another possible benefit, as is qualifying for benefits such as social security, veteran’s benefits, or life insurance and inheritance in the case of the father’s passing. And of course, the most valuable aspect of establishing paternity is the opportunity for the child to have a nurturing relationship with their father and his relatives. By accepting the paternity of a child, the father shares the responsibility of caring for and commitment to them into maturity.
How Long Does the Father Have to Establish Paternity in NJ?
The child, supposed father, mother, child’s legal guardian, or county welfare agency can file a paternity case up until the child is 23 years of age.
Three Ways to Determine Paternity
- The first and most common way is with a birth certificate. Both parents sign a document (COP) which states that they are the biological parents. Before signing, they will be informed of their rights and what it means. If the father has some misgivings about the child’s true paternity, he or the child’s mother can file a complaint with the court for further testing to prove paternity.
- The second way is through DNA testing. Sometimes, testing is done while the child remains in utero with a NIPP (Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity) test where blood is drawn from both parents, and a genetic profile is created to compare their cells. After eight weeks into the pregnancy, the test can be applied and causes no harm to the mother. After the child is born, another paternity test can be done with a blood sample from the father and the child. The results are typically 98% accurate.
- The third way to determine paternity is through a court order. Sometimes the alleged father is unwilling to take a paternity test. The child’s mother files a complaint requesting that the court mandate a paternity test. If the father refuses to follow the court’s mandate, he could be prosecuted for violating a court order.
With a sensitive topic like paternity, seek the support of Family Law and Paternity Attorneys at the Montanari Law Group.
Are you embattled in a paternity case? Do you need representation that will assist, listen to, and provide you with the absolute best in family law? Whether you need to establish paternity in or out of court, set up child support payments and benefits, or request modification of support and custody orders which have already been found, our legal team is prepared to handle your case thoroughly and effectively.
At the Montanari Law Group, we provide our clients with a high level of commitment and experience. From DNA tests to child support plans, we know how to help you and your family through this stressful time. If you live in Pompton Lakes, Totowa, West Milford, and places in and around Passaic County, Hudson County, and Bergen County, contact us for further assistance in your particular paternity case.
If you have already established paternity and want to change a birth certificate or other documents such as your will or living trust, we can help. We know you want your family to be cared for under any circumstances.