Paternity/Child Custody

There are many reasons and benefits for both biological parents in establishing the identity of a minor child’s legal father.  At Buchanan and Bruggenschmidt, we are well-versed in the proper paternity procedures and dedicated to resolving any and all issues that may arise during and after the establishment of paternity.

We routinely represent fathers and mothers in paternity actions.  We recognize that exercising parental privileges is a fundamental right and we are fully devoted to ensuring that your rights are protected and that your minor child’s best interests are met.

A father who fails to establish paternity of his minor child faces the possibility that his child could be adopted without his knowledge.  If you believe you may be the father of a child born out of wedlock, it is critical that you register with the Putative Father Registry to protect your right to contest the potential adoption of your child.

Until paternity is established, a biological father has no legal rights to his child, even if you have an informal agreement in place with the child’s mother. Establishing paternity allows a father to formalize n anyagreements between the parents, which protects a father’s rights and firmly establishes his identity as the child’s father.

Absent extraordinary circumstances, a biological father has the ability to request that the minor child take your last name and to seek custody and/or liberal parenting time.  Legally establishing yourself as the child’s father will also permit the Clerk to keep a formal record of all child support payments in your case.  In most cases, the requests made in a petition to establish paternity will be backdated to the date of filing, thereby resulting in make up parenting time.

A mother who establishes paternity gains the right to implement child support orders and to request insurance coverage for the child from the legal father.  Also, paternity allows the formal establishment of custody and parenting time arrangements.  In most cases, a father’s child support obligation may be backdated to the day the mother files to establish paternity.  Additionally, the child’s father will likely be ordered to assist with payment of the child’s extracurricular, birthing and uninsured medical expenses, and educational expenses.

Unmarried parents face the challenge of co-parenting, regardless of the length of their relationship or whether they currently get along.  An experienced and dedicated attorney can make the difference in your attempt to protect your rights and your child’s best interests.

Regardless of whether you are the child’s mother or father, it is crucial to obtain orders defining each parent’s role in the child’s life and his or her responsibilities going forward.  This will protect your integrity, create a plan for the future of your child and reduce uncertainty and disagreement in your co-parenting relationship.