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How to establish paternity in Rhode Island

In a previous blog post, this blog discussed the relationship between paternity and child support. In that post, it was explained that in order to obtain child support in Rhode Island, paternity had to be established for the child. This means that a man had to be legally recognized as the father of the child. When a couple is married, the husband is the presumptive father and paternity may not be an issue. However, for unmarried couples the issues can be more difficult.

There are many reasons, other than to collect child support, it is important that paternity for a child is established. By establishing paternity, children will have the right to inherit property from their father, the right to social security benefits and the right to access to his healthcare coverage. Establishing paternity also paves the way for the child and the father to have a relationship.

According to the Rhode Island Officer of Child Support Services, paternity can be established in a few different ways. While in the hospital -- following a child's birth -- a father can acknowledge paternity. To this this, special staff will work with the couple, they will watch a video about paternity and sign an affidavit of paternity. If these steps are completed, the father's name can be added to the birth certificate. The Office of Child Support Services can also help couples move through this process.

If the father is unwilling to voluntarily acknowledge paternity then a court case can be commenced. In these case the father can challenge paternity by requesting a DNA test or admit to paternity. If the father fails to respond then the family court will name him the father and order child support.

An attorney can often help couple with their child support and other family law issues. In these cases, an attorney can help explain people's rights and options when it comes to establishing paternity, parenting plans and child support.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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