The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC are paternity lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who can help you should you need to establish paternity. Paternity is the legal process by which the father of a child is acknowledged. Paternity grants some important benefits to the child, the mother, and the father. What are these benefits?
- Benefits to the Child. There are immense psychological benefits to knowing who your father is. Paternity also grants important legal and financial rights for the child with regards to his or her father. When the child is under 18, the child has the right to receive support from the father. Paternity also allows the state to recognize the child as the father’s legal heir, so if the father passes away without a will, the child can stand to benefit the father’s estate under intestate inheritance laws. The child can also get important access to health insurance benefits and social security benefits through the father. Finally, knowing who the child’s genetic father is can be beneficial in terms of medical records and understanding genetic medical risks.
- Benefits to the Mother. Paternity grants the mother the right to file an order for child support, which can help her manage the costs of raising a child.
- Benefits to the Father. Paternity gives the father visitation and custody rights to the child. This means that the father could be granted the right to make legal decisions for the child and visit the child.
These are just some of the benefits of paternity. If you need assistance establishing paternity in Greenville, South Carolina, reach out to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, paternity lawyers near you. Our firm will take the time to understand your situation, help you understand your rights, and help you take the next steps.
How Paternity is Established in South Carolina
If the mother and father are married when a child is born, the state will automatically assume that the husband of the mother is the father of the child. Parents in this situation don’t need to do anything to establish paternity. However, if a couple is unmarried when a child is born or if the father of the child is not the mother’s husband, then paternity may need to be formally established through legal means. Paternity can be acknowledged voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary acknowledgement of paternity can happen if both parents agree about paternity. Both parents can sign a paternity acknowledgement at the hospital when the child is born or they can sign the acknowledgement of paternity forms at DHEC Vital Records. It is important that parents only sign the paternity forms if both parents are certain that the father is the biological father of the child. Fathers have a right to request genetic testing and the South Carolina Department of Social Services provides testing for free.
What happens if one or both parents are unsure about paternity, or if the father refuses to acknowledge paternity? The South Carolina Department of Social Services offers parents free DNA testing to help them establish paternity. Sometimes the matter can be resolved through mediation and through a simple genetic test. However, sometimes fathers refuse to take the test or refuse to cooperate.
Actions to determine paternity can be brought before the court or through the South Carolina Department of Social Services by the mother, the father, or the child. The South Carolina Department of Social Services can order that the father submit to a DNA test. A mother, child, or father can also bring a paternity case before the courts. The process is similar, in that the court may order that all parties undergo DNA testing. If the father refuses to submit to a DNA test, this could result in a default judgement acknowledging him as the father of the child.
If you need to establish paternity through involuntary means, the process can be more complex than simply signing a form. Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC are paternity lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who can assist you with your case and with seeking DNA testing. Protect your rights. Contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC today.
Paternity and Child Support in South Carolina
In order for a mother to legally seek an order for child support, she must first establish paternity. This can be done voluntarily or involuntarily. Once paternity is established, the father can either voluntarily support the child financially (if both parents live together) or the mother can seek a child support order. Child support amounts are determined based on formulas established by the state. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC are paternity and child support lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who may be able to help you with seeking child support and establishing paternity.
Complex Paternity Situations in South Carolina
Mothers may sometimes feel reluctant to establish paternity in cases where they are leaving a situation where domestic violence may have occurred or where they were raped by the child’s father. However, paternity grants the mother important rights to seek financial support to help raise her child, and in many cases, it is beneficial to establish paternity for the child’s well-being. Most experts believe that paternity should be established, but that it should be done through the court system, to ensure that both the mother and the child are protected from further violence.
However, a qualified lawyer can help a mother in this situation take steps to protect her child, either by seeking sole physical custody or by requiring supervised visitation of the child. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC are paternity and child support lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who can help you navigate complex paternity situations. Contact us today to learn more about what your next steps should be.