Pittsburgh Paternity Lawyer
Establishing paternity of a child in Pennsylvania can enable both parents and the child to live a more fulfilled life.
In custody cases, determining paternity is critical. Whether it is done through a DNA test or a simple signature, identifying a child’s parents determines who is responsible for welfare and upbringing. Courts always prefer identifying both a mother and father, as the influence of both parents can be beneficial for the child.
In Pennsylvania, establishing paternity can be tricky. You may have realized that you were the father of a child only to learn that someone else has claimed the title, or perhaps the court is questioning the legitimacy of your claim. Whatever the case, our Pittsburgh paternity lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help you be involved in your child’s life.
Call (412) 471-5100 now to see how you can gain parental rights.
Paternity in Custody Cases
The paternity of a child is never questioned when the parents are married. When a child is born out of wedlock, however, the father must immediately establish his parental status to gain access to father’s rights. In most cases, establishing paternity is as simple as signing on the dotted line. DNA tests are only required when the child’s paternity is disputed by either the court or by the mother herself.
Once the father is legitimized, he may pursue custody rights. Both parents may then work together to create a parenting plan. This agreement acts as a way to assign parental responsibilities – everything from child support to visitation. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, or if one parent cannot handle the responsibilities of parenthood, a judge will create an order based on the child’s best interests.
Doctrine of Paternity by Estoppel
The state of Pennsylvania has clung to the antiquated concept of paternity by estoppel for decades. Put simply, this doctrine states that if a person claims to be the father of a child, they are the child’s father. When this rule is applied, DNA evidence is inadmissible. A man is a child’s father from the moment they claim paternity on legal documents, even if the true biological father is revealed at a later date.
While the idea of paternity by estoppel may seem archaic, it is often used to protect mothers and children alike. Imagine, for example, a man establishes himself as a father, even though he is not biologically related to the child. Four years after the child is born, his relationship with the mother ends. He tries to get out of paying child support, claiming that he is not the child’s true father. In this situation, paternity by estoppel would stifle the father’s attempts to escape his obligations. The doctrine can also be applied when a mother attempts to collect child support from someone other than the established father, such as the child’s long-lost biological father.
Contact Pittsburgh Paternity Lawyer Anthony Piccirilli
Establishing paternity can be a stressful experience, especially when it may seem like everyone is fighting against you. It can feel as if you are being treated unfairly. After all, you only seek the opportunity to make a positive impact in your child’s life.
Our child custody attorneys at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understand the turmoil that can arise in these situations. With Pennsylvania operating on the doctrine of paternity by estoppel, it can be difficult to prove paternity if someone else has already claimed parental rights. Once it is clear that want to be a loving and responsible parent, we can use our years of legal experience to prove your paternity.
Call (412) 471-5100 today so your voice can be heard in a paternity dispute.