Who’s Your Daddy?

Interesting you should ask. The law presumes paternity if:

  • The man is married to your mother and you are born during that marriage;
  • The man is married to your mother and you are born within 301 days (9 months, more or less) after the marriage ends by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce;
  • The man married your mother after you were born, and he voluntarily agreed to be listed as your father or promised (in a record) that he would support you as his own; or
  • The man lived with you from your birth until you were two years old and told other people that you were his child.

There is another way to voluntarily establish paternity. The man and your mother can sign an acknowledgement of his paternity.

If no one steps forward and paternity is up in the air, then you can establish paternity rights by filing a lawsuit and naming names. It’s called a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage. As long as there isn’t a presumed, acknowledged or adjudicated father, the petition can be filed at any time.

So what happens if more than one man qualifies for the label of dad? Well, a presumed father can also sign a denial of his paternity, provided another man has signed an acknowledgement of paternity.

There’s more to it than that, of course. Acknowledgments can be rescinded. Terminated parental rights, assisted reproduction (sperm donors), gestational agreements, adoption, paternity judgments from other states – all of these situations are governed by other laws.   The issues regarding same-sex couples are far from settled.

It may even turn out that your biological dad isn’t your dad as far as the law is concerned. That’s pretty important when you are looking at inheritance rights, standing to bring a lawsuit, and statutory rights on medical and burial decisions.

So who IS your daddy?

Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.