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20. Paternity

Gloucester County Paternity Lawyers Located in Woodbury, NJ

Trusted Woodbury, NJ Paternity Attorneys Help Clients Navigate Paternity Issues in Gloucester County and Throughout South Jersey

Paternity is the legal term used to describe someone who’s legally considered to be a child’s father. Generally, if two people are married when the child is born, each spouse is automatically considered to be the child’s legal parent. The situation becomes much more complex when the parties are unmarried. If this is the case, it’s usually necessary to establish paternity to protect your rights—both from the perspective of the father’s right to parenting time and the mother’s right to child support.

Most of the time there’s no question as to the paternity of a child. However, in certain instances, it may be necessary to seek court intervention for a declaration of paternity. If you believe you’re the father of a child and the child’s mother refuses to name you on the birth certificate, an Order of Paternity is necessary to protect your rights and to enable you to have a legal right to your child. While courts aren’t able to enter an Order prior to the birth of a child, it’s important that you discuss your rights and options so that when the child is born, you can act swiftly, if needed.

Smedley Law Group focuses on your present circumstances and will work with you to create a parenting plan that’s best for you and your new family member. If you believe you’re the father of a child and are being met with resistance, contact us so we can get you on the path to a fulfilling relationship with your child.

Our experienced paternity attorneys are well-versed in the complex issues that often arise when establishing paternity. We can help you resolve a range of paternity issues, from establishing paternity, to visitation, child support, and custody arrangements. Our lawyers are dedicated to our fight to protect your legal rights—and we’re here to help you understand those rights.

Protecting your relationship with your child is our priority. We know that every family dynamic is unique, and we take the time to get to know you to understand your goals. To learn more about how an experienced Woodbury, NJ paternity lawyer can work to make sure you and your family are protected, contact our law office to arrange a consultation today.

Why Is Establishing Paternity Important?

Aside from the psychological and emotional implications of the father-child relationship, establishing paternity is important for a number of practical reasons. Those include:

These financial issues can be critical to making sure that your child is protected. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to guide you through the process of establishing paternity. We’ll work closely with your family to protect your child’s interests, both emotionally and financially. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Establishing Paternity Under New Jersey Law

Paternity can be established in two basic ways. Of course, the father could simply admit that he’s the biological father. If that’s the case, the court can establish an order of filiation (an establishment of paternity). You can also sign a certificate of parentage that lists both biological father and mother, whether at birth or at a later date.

If the man denies paternity, the court can order that he submit to genetic testing to confirm or deny paternity. A simple saliva test can determine whether the man is the child’s biological parent. If the score is 95% or higher, the man is presumed to be the child’s father.

Either the mother or father can request a court to order genetic testing. If the test shows that the man is the child’s father, then it’s necessary to file a complaint with the court to establish legal paternity. The complaint will be sent to the father, who’ll also be provided with information about his legal rights and obligations—at which point it’s encouraged that the man voluntarily admit paternity.

If the father continues to refuse, the case will proceed to trial. At this point, the court has the authority to make the determination that the man is the child’s father for legal purposes. Once the court enters the legal order, the mother gains the right to pursue child support—and the father gains the right to protect his child custody and parenting rights.

Contact Our Respected Woodbury Paternity Attorneys for a Consultation

If you have questions involving your parental rights as a father, it’s important to get advice from an experienced family law attorney. At Smedley Law Group, we have nearly two decades of experience helping families with paternity issues in South Jersey. Whether you’re a father looking to protect your parental rights or a mother who needs help establishing paternity for child support matters, don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation.  

We know that emotions are usually heightened around questions of paternity. Our Woodbury, NJ paternity lawyers can help you and your family work through the process with as much ease as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity Issues in New Jersey

FAQ: What if the person I’m married to is actually not my child’s father? Is there any way to prevent automatic establishment of paternity under New Jersey law?

Yes. While two married partners are generally automatically treated as the child’s two legal parents, this isn’t always the case. It’s possible for the husband to deny paternity so that the child’s actual biological father preserves his legal parental rights. This is done by completing an Affidavit of Denial of Paternity. Once this form is completed, the child’s actual biological parents can be put on the child’s birth certificate as legal parents.

FAQ: Do I have to be the child’s biological father to establish paternity?

No. Paternity is a term that refers to the legal state of being a child’s father. When paternity is established, you have all of the legal rights and obligations of fatherhood—regardless of whether you share a blood relationship with the child. For example, an adoptive father can establish paternity and, for all intents and purposes, will be considered the child’s father.

FAQ: What happens if I’ve established paternity, but my child’s mother refuses to allow me to share custody?

If you’re unable to reach an agreement over child custody and parenting time issues with your co-parent, court intervention may be necessary. Our lawyers can help you explore options like mediation and alternative dispute resolution as a means to resolve these complex issues without a trial. Ultimately, the relevant consideration is what’s in the best interests of the child. New Jersey courts do, however, favor fostering meaningful relationships for the child with both parents unless extenuating circumstances make contact with the father unadvisable.

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Our powerhouse team of attorneys have chosen to devote their entire practice to family law, ensuring you have a support system of strong litigators who’ll work on your behalf in your unique situation. We listen and talk with you to determine your goals and desired outcomes, and then work with you to achieve them through our advocacy.

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