Legally, paternity means being the legal father of a child. Paternity can be established at the child's birth but can also be established later on. There are many benefits to establishing paternity. It is important for a child to know their parents for both emotional and financial reasons. When the paternity of the father is identified, they can be held responsible for child support, insurance coverage and other costs of raising the child. A person who is established as the father of child also has the right to request custody or visitation with them.
Establishing Paternity in New Hampshire
Sometimes the paternity of a child comes into question. This is mainly when the mother was unwed when the baby was conceived or had been widowed or divorced for more than 10 months. In these cases, there are two ways that paternity is established.
1. Voluntary Acknowledgment - When everyone involved is in agreement that a person is the father, they can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form that will declare him so. This form must be signed, notarized and submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Health.
This form states that both mother and father agree that they are the legal parents of the child. Once it is signed, the father's information can be filled into the birth certificate of the child. Once a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form is filed, it can be very difficult to change paternity so it is suggested that a paternity test is performed before going through the paperwork.
2. Paternity Action - In cases where the paternity of a child is denied or disputed, a paternity case can be opened in order to figure out who the legal father of the child is. Oftentimes this involves performed DNA testing to prove decisively who the father is and is not. A child can file a paternity action at any point during their life, but another party must do it before the child turns 21. A paternity case can be opened by any of the following people:
- The mother of the child
- Any man who believes he may be the father of the child
- The child's legal guardian
- The State of New Hampshire –this is only in cases where the child is receiving government assistance
Petitioning for Child Support in New Hampshire
When paternity is established, the father of the child will be responsible for paying for them. Under New Hampshire law, parents are each responsible for half of their child's expenses. When parents do not share custody of the child, the one without custody is responsible for paying child support. Child support payments are determined by the number of children needing support, the amount of money the parent owns and other factors.
Legal Help With Paternity Issues in NH
If you are seeking to establish paternity of a child whether you are the father seeking custody or a guardian looking to collect child support, hiring an attorney can make the entire process easy for you. A New Hampshire paternity attorney can help you file the necessary paperwork to establish paternity and then move on to helping you get the results you want. Call Russman Law now to get started.