Child Born Out of Wedlock

paternityHow do we prove who the father is of a child, if not born in wedlock? Under Pennsylvania law, paternity of a child born out-of-wedlock may be determined in any one of three ways:

(1) when the child’s parents have subsequently married each other;

(2) by clear and convincing evidence that during the child’s lifetime, the father openly holds the child out to be his and either receives the child into his home or provides support for the child; or

(3) where there is clear and convincing evidence of paternity, which may include a prior court determination.

paternityIn cases where child support is an issue, the father may be able to request a DNA test to establish if he in fact the childs biological father, if the above rules do not apply and he has not previously signed an acknowledgment of paternity.  Also, remember that once you acknowledge paternity you will probably not be able to  request a paternity test later.

In cases where custody is an issue, the father or mother may request a paternity test.  Typically a  party files a Petition to Establish Paternity and requests that the court order the parties and the child to submit to DNA testing.  This can be used to establish custody rights once it is established who the natural biological parents are.

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