Paternity is often something people believe they understand, but there are a lot of assumptions about it as well. This is because the legal issue of paternity is often different from what people think it is. For a man, the issue of paternity can be more complex than he imagines. The following are a few things that a man should know if he is involved in an unexpected pregnancy.
If you are married, there is no paternity issue
Paternity is a situation in which the father is unknown, at least from a legal point of view. However, if your legal spouse is pregnant, the law presumes that you are the father. Because of this, if you suspect that your wife is pregnant with another man's child, you must take legal action against her, so the courts can exclude you as the father. In some states, you may be able to argue that you were separated from her at the time she became pregnant, but in an age of DNA tests, it is usually simpler to have the testing done. But this must be done through the court system, and there is a short window in which you can do this, depending upon the state, this can be a short time from the birth of the child.
Never assume the child is yours
Do not be so arrogant to believe that a woman you have had sexual relations with has been exclusive with you. She could easily have been with another man and wishes the child were yours because she has feelings for you, or perhaps you simply make more money than the other potential father. In some cases, a woman may genuinely think she knows who the father is, but can simply be wrong. Unless a paternity test shows that you are the father, you shouldn't assume that you are the father.
Always use a family attorney for paternity issues
Never have a DNA test done outside the court system. When a judge orders a test to be done, there will be a local testing facility that the court uses. A protocol for the chain of evidence will be followed, so the results can be trusted. If the test shows you are not the father, a judge will then exclude you as such, and stop further legal action. If, on the other hand, you are the biological father, the judge will make this ruling. Everything else is usually done at the same time. The amount of child support you will pay is calculated, along with visitation. A paternity attorney can give you the specific procedure for your state.
If you are accused of being a father, do not assume the child is yours. Let a lawyer handle the process of establishing paternity through the courts.