Portland Paternity Attorney
Skilled Paternity Lawyers in Portland, Oregon
Legally, the unwed father of a child has no established rights at law until his paternity is established. The right to see a child’s medical records, talk to teachers, go to parent-teacher conferences – these are all parental rights. Additionally, until paternity has been established, an unwed father is unable to have an enforceable parenting schedule with their child. On the other side, a mother cannot obtain court-enforced child support from a father whose paternity has not been legally established. The paternity of the child of a married couple is presumed to be that of the father.
Until DNA testing was more generally available, definitively establishing paternity was a difficult process. It is now a relatively fast, inexpensive scientific process using blood tests. In the alternative, a sworn statement using a “paternity affidavit” can be used. Depending on whether the parents are working together to establish custody, different legal procedures may apply. It is important that you get solid legal advice to assist with the establishment of paternity in the fastest manner possible. A Portland paternity attorney can help!
What To Expect In Your Consultation With An Oregon Paternity Lawyer
We meet with all potential clients in person for the first consultation. This allows us to meet potential clients and hear the background of each case, to determine if your case is a good fit for our office, and to provide information about a client’s rights and responsibilities under Oregon law. We offer this initial consultation for a flat fee.
When starting the process for finding a lawyer, potential clients often ask “who is the best Oregon lawyer for paternity issues” or the “who is the best paternity lawyer in Portland?” The answer is the attorney who gets the results you need. Like the rest of family law, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to selecting an Oregon paternity lawyer. The best attorney for you is the one who listens to your circumstances, provides solid legal advice, and facilitates and achieves your goals. Contact one of our Portland paternity attorneys today to set up a consultation.
How Paternity Is Established In Oregon
When a married couple has a child, the husband is legally presumed to be the child’s father. This establishes the legal and financial responsibility of the father toward the child until the age of eighteen. When a couple is unmarried and has a child, however, there are no legal rights between a father and child until paternity is established.
Why Is Paternity Important?
Family courts today recognize the benefits of a child knowing and having a meaningful relationship with both parents. Having access to both parents can improve a child’s life financially, emotionally, and be critical in times of grave emergency. In addition to that, there are other significant benefits of establishing legal paternity for both the child and the parents.
Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities toward their children. Establishing paternity gives the father the right to parenting time and making important decisions throughout the child’s lifetime. It also establishes parents’ financial responsibilities to the child.
A child may have the right to benefits through one or both parents. These can include:
- Government benefits such as veteran’s benefits and Social Security
- Life insurance benefits
- Health insurance coverage
Parental medical history and access may be necessary if there is a life-threatening situation or a hereditary disease. Knowing health risks and having access to relatives with possible compatible blood types can be life-saving.
How Is Paternity Established In Oregon?
When the two parents acknowledge paternity willingly, they do so by signing a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This can be done when the child is born or within five days afterward. Both parents will sign before a third party witness, and then the executed form is filed with the state registrar. Even if the couple marries afterward, they must still sign this document to establish the child’s paternity legally.
What Happens If There Is A Disagreement About The Paternity Of A Child?
Unfortunately, there are times when someone is wrongfully identified as the father. A father may not want the financial responsibility of a child or a mother may not want the father involved in the child’s life. These may require the involvement of the family court system to establish the paternity of the child.
How The Courts Establish Paternity
If there is disagreement about a child’s paternity, the court will be called upon to establish it through a paternity suit. This requires the filing of a petition by one of the parents or by the state.
During the lawsuit, both parties have the right to present his or her case and provide evidence to a judge. During the suit, the court may require the alleged father to take a test to determine his paternity. This will usually be in the form of a blood test. Paternity is presumed if the results of the test indicate there is a 99 percent certainty of paternity and the court will enter a judgment accordingly.
If the judge concludes that the alleged father is indeed the legal father, the court will further decide other financial support matters such as health insurance, birth costs, legal fees, and other costs. If issues such as custody and child support were presented in the filing, the court will also make those determinations.
Getting Legal Advice And Assistance
Parents who are dealing with paternity issues should have legal representation when navigating the family court system. Having an experienced Portland paternity attorney on your side is critical. At Brittle Family Law Group, our experienced Portland family law attorneys have a history of helping clients with paternity and other matters of legal family importance. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your rights and options.