Q:

How do you file a petition to establish paternity?

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Quick Answer

Filing a petition to establish paternity involves obtaining the appropriate forms from a court clerk and filling them out before submitting the forms and any supporting documents to the court. Petitioners must also pay for the filing and notify the opposite party to the petition about the legal process, according to Legal Match. To prevent making any procedural errors, hiring an attorney is ideal.

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Full Answer

A petition to establish paternity is a court process that seeks to determine a child's genuine male parent, as Legal Match explains. Although states have different laws regarding paternity lawsuits, most states allow the mother of the child to file the petition. Depending on the state, other individuals that may have standing to file a petition include alleged biological fathers as well as children seeking to know their fathers, especially if the child has attained the right age to do so. The office of the prosecutor and governmental social agencies may also file a petition on the grounds of a child's neglect.

To ensure that the child's alleged father gets the opportunity to defend himself in court, most jurisdictions require the filing to occur before the death of the father, as Legal Match details. However, the court can still establish a child's paternity after the death of the alleged father. One way to do so is to determine if the child's birth certificate contains the alleged father's name.

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