Paternity Law in Pennsylvania

paternityIn this day and age you would think it would be easy to establish who the father of a child is.  Any disagreements or uncertainties could simply be resolved by a paternity test.  Unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not make it simple to establish paternity, and the rights and obligations that go along with it.

Paternity actions most often result when there is confusion or questions regarding the identity of a child’s father. Fatherhood questions are usually answered via a DNA test, commonly referred to as a “blood test” or “genetic test.”

Fathers can submit voluntarily to a DNA test to establish paternity, and mothers can compel alleged fathers to submit to a DNA test to establish paternity, which can then lead to an entry of a child support payment order.  However, if the father has previously acknowledged that his is the father or he has signed an acknowledgement of paternity (usually at the time of the birth at the hospital, at a time when he may not remember signing the document) he may be deemed to be the father and not be permitted to even request a DNA test.  This can also be true if the mother has held someone else out to be the father and now makes a claim against a third party for child support; she may not be permitted to request a DNA test.

Men may be able to compel mothers to submit to DNA testing to determine if they believe they may be the father.  This is done as part of a Petition to Establish Paternity.  This could be used to establish custody rights for a father.

Areas and issues related to paternity law include birth certificates, estoppel actions and acknowledgments of paternity.

Issues involving paternity can be confusing under Pennsylvania law.  Decisions made by the court or mistakes made by the parties can be permanent.  For experienced legal help in pursuing your paternity law legal rights, contact our firm for a no-fee discussion.