Haddon Heights Paternity Attorney

New Jersey firm assists with matters related to legal fatherhood

If biological parents were never married during the course of a woman’s pregnancy, legal paternity is not automatically established, even if the parents have been in an exclusive relationship for years. Sometimes the process of establishing paternity is simple, but there are situations where significant efforts must occur to secure parental rights or child support. At The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, I handle a full range of proceedings relating to legal fatherhood.

Legal paternity is necessary to set visitation rights and support obligations

Once legal paternity is granted to a man, he has the ability to obtain child custody and visitation rights. This legal authority is not granted automatically once paternity is confirmed, but establishing parentage is the first step. Once a Judgment of Paternity is entered, the named father is required to pay child support if he lives in a different residence. The specific amount depends on several factors, including the incomes of both parents and each parent’s contribution to certain costs associated with raising a son or daughter.

Establishing paternity

In cases where there is no dispute between two parties about who the father of a baby is, they can complete a Certificate of Parentage once the child is born. In the event a dispute exists, either the mother or prospective father must file a petition to establish paternity. From there, the court will order a genetic test to determine if the named man fathered the child. Along with child support and parental rights, legal paternity also means that a son or daughter will be able to receive employment-related and Social Security benefits through their father. The child would also be entitled to receive an inheritance if their father dies without a will.

Paternity testing

Should you have questions about the paternity of a child, you can choose from one of the following types of genetic tests to help you learn who the biological father is:

  • Legally admissible test — When an approved DNA test shows that there is at least a 95 percent likelihood that a man fathered a child, a finding of paternity can be made under New Jersey law. To be legally admissible, the test must be conducted, preserved and reviewed in accordance with state standards.
  • Informational test — There are noninvasive DNA tests that can give mothers and prospective fathers insight regarding genetic ties with a child. You might use this type of test to avoid a contested paternity proceeding. Some couples opt for a prenatal test so that they can complete a Certificate of Parentage at the hospital shortly after the infant’s arrival if the result indicates the man is the biological father.

After discussing your particular situation, I can advise you regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the various testing options.

Contact an New Jersey lawyer for assistance with a legal paternity matter   

The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone represents New Jersey residents in proceedings relating to the establishment of legal paternity. You can schedule a consultation at my Haddon Heights office by calling 856-432-4587 or contacting me online.