Indianapolis Paternity Lawyers Here to Help Clients
Being a father is a special role in life. A father is not defined by biology alone since this would discount all the fathers who are stepfathers, adoptive fathers, or fathers in one way or another for a child. When it comes to being a father, the matter of determining paternity is of utmost importance in several types of legal cases, such as asking for visitation or negotiating other rights offered to fathers. Paternity is the first step in establishing someone’s legal claims to their child.
Call The Law Office of Deidra N. Haynes today at 317-982-7396 for answers to your paternity questions.
What is a Paternity Case?
A paternity case takes place when a father is trying to establish legal rights to a child. The main reason someone may seek to establish paternity is in order to have visitation or custody rights. This is the most common reason but not the only reason for a paternity case. Paternity cases may also be sought for reasons such as legal guardianship, severing parental rights to put the child up for adoption, or other legal reasons. While some people assume determining paternity is a simple matter of a DNA test, the matter is more complex in the eyes of the law. A paternity case may cover a variety of concerns or unique situations, but the matter of fatherhood is the central legal focus. This can be a complicated matter where emotions run high, which is why having a paternity lawyer is often helpful in coming to a solution.
How is Father Defined by Law?
While most people think of a father as the biological father, this is only one definition of the role of the father. Biological fathers certainly have legal rights, but the law has other definitions of father, which may grant legal rights. Each type of father has certain rights as defined by their role. Aside from the biological father of the child, the law categorizes fathers in the following way:
- Presumed Father: a man married to a woman when she has a child. It is assumed that he is the father of the child because they are legally married.
- Stepfather: a man marrying a woman with children from a previous relationship and helping to raise the children as the man married to the mother.
- Acknowledged Father: an unmarried man who claims or confesses he is the father.
- Unwed Father: an unmarried man who has a child with a woman he is not married to.
These are just some of the main ways a father is defined. A knowledgeable paternity lawyer understands that each case is unique, which is why they work closely with clients to put together the best legal case for the circumstances.
What Does a Paternity Lawyer Do?
A paternity lawyer helps clients during the process of establishing paternity for any legal reason. The paternity lawyer is the client’s first source for asking important questions regarding the legal process and rights granted to fathers. The paternity attorney will answer questions regarding the law as it relates to the specific situation of the client in question. There are also forms and paperwork involved in any case, especially one where someone is trying to prove paternity. The client will be asked to provide documentation as proof in certain cases, such as showing they have financially supported the child as the acknowledged father or the marriage certificate when a stepfather is trying to establish paternity. A paternity lawyer will put together a case for the client and then present it before the judge. From start to finish, a paternity lawyer is there to serve the client in the fight to establish paternity.
How Much Does a Paternity Lawyer Cost?
Many people worry about the cost of hiring a paternity lawyer. While it is possible to represent yourself in court in order to save on legal fees, it may not be in your best interest to obtain the desired outcome. A paternity lawyer knows the legal system and what it takes to win a paternity case. In terms of costs, a paternity lawyer may charge an hourly fee or charge on a case-by-case basis, which is something clients should ask about upfront, especially if there are financial concerns. It is always important to keep in mind that the peace of mind in hiring a legal professional may far outweigh the financial costs, especially when fighting for something as personal and important as establishing paternity.
What if I Want to Challenge Paternity?
Establishing paternity is not the only legal matter a paternity lawyer may deal with for a client. There are situations where a person may wish to challenge paternity. Challenging paternity typically means disproving the client as the father of the child in question. This can be a common occurrence, especially for unmarried men trying to disprove a child is theirs in the biological sense. When challenging paternity, it may be more involved than simply determining biological paternity. There may be other instances of challenging paternity where a man has been caring for a child that is not his but would like to be removed from the legal rights and, therefore, legal expectations of the term father. Challenging paternity is often a complicated matter, which is why having a paternity lawyer there to assist clients is always a smart legal move.
Find Out How We Can Help Today
Dealing with any type of legal matter can be a stressful experience, but there are always heightened emotions when the case is about a child. Whether trying to prove or challenge paternity, the right legal counsel could make all the difference in the case. Find out how we can help by contacting us at 317-982-7396 today.