Louisiana Family Law Paternity Lawyers
Experienced Louisiana Family Law Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights
Mansfield Melancon’s family law attorneys always strive to get the best outcome possible for our clients fighting for their rights when they are involved in a difficult custody battle. Of all the long-term relationships we experience throughout our lives, family ties are often the most private, enduring, and emotional. As most can attest, however, these relationships are rarely free from conflict. Mansfield Melancon’s family law attorneys provide personal and individualized attention and advice that clients need and deserve during what may be the most difficult times of their lives.
When a child is born there’s always numerous tasks that the parents have to accomplish in a short amount of time. However, if the child's parents were not married, there is one important task that cannot wait. The parents must establish legal paternity. Without it, the father will have no right to custody of the child and the mother will have no right to child support payments from the father.
How to Establish Paternity
Under Louisiana law, when a child is born to an unmarried woman, the mother is the only legally-recognized parent. This is true even if the mother and father are living together or are otherwise in a committed relationship. (However, when a child is born within 300 days of a divorce, the mother's ex-husband is presumed to be the child's legal father and must seek court approval to disavow said child.)
Unmarried parents may establish paternity in one of two ways. The first is to complete a form called an “Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit”. By signing this form, both parents agree that the man is the biological father of the child. Once the form has been processed, the father will be added to the child's birth certificate.
Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavits are usually available at the hospital when the child is born. However, if the parents are not ready or able to declare paternity at that time, an affidavit may be filed with the Louisiana Vital Records registry at a later date.
If there is a dispute as to the paternity of the child, the second option is to pursue a paternity suit in court. Often, these lawsuits arise when a mother wishes to obtain child support payments from the child's father or when a father wants to seek custody or visitation with his child. Paternity lawsuits can also be helpful for securing the child's eligibility for government benefits (Social Security, veterans' benefits, etc.) based on the father's status. Paternity lawsuits may involve DNA evidence as well as witness testimony regarding the relationship between the mother and the alleged father.
Challenging Presumptions of Paternity
It is also possible to use paternity lawsuits to challenge established or presumed paternity. For example, a lawsuit might be brought by a man who signed an “Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit” but later discovered evidence indicating that another man is the child's biological father. Or, perhaps a man who fathered a child with a married woman wishes to establish that he - and not the woman's husband - is the biological father of the child. There are certain time limitations that may preclude you from disavowing a child. If you are experiencing issues with paternity it is important that you contact a Family Law attorney at Mansfield Melancon immediately to protect your rights.
Schedule a Consultation with a Family Law Attorney at Mansfield Melancon today!
If you are in need of reliable legal advice regarding your best available options when dealing with paternity issues, contact a family law attorney at Mansfield Melancon immediately to make sure your rights and interests are being protected. We are committed to guiding the people whom we represent through the legal process with experience and personal attention.
Our firm also has a strong track record of getting optimal results for our clients.
Our offices are conveniently located in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Call us or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a Louisiana personal injury lawyer. You can reach us at our New Orleans location at 504-500-1108, our Baton Rouge location at 225-612-0800, or our Lafayette location at 337-409-0003.