Paternity cases are often filed in Monmouth County, New Jersey, because an unmarried man is asserting his legal right as a parent, or a mother is seeking child support from the man she alleges is the father of her child. Questions of paternity might arise when a couple is not married. However, paternity issues can also be an issue in divorce and other family law cases.
Regardless of how the question of paternity became an issue, you need sound legal advice from an experienced Monmouth County paternity lawyer. Contact The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC to schedule a free consultation or call us at (732) 747-1882 today to discuss your situation.
How Our Monmouth County Family Law Attorneys Can Help You With a Paternity Action
Having an experienced Monmouth County paternity lawyer represent you in your case can make dealing with this issue less stressful. A family lawyer understands New Jersey paternity laws and the process of establishing and contesting paternity.
Our founding attorney Jennifer McCaskill has devoted her law practice to family law matters. The law group she assembled consists of skilled attorneys dedicated to helping individuals and families resolve the most demanding family law challenges. The legal team has more than 18 years of experience in family law.
We treat clients like family at The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill. We are fierce advocates for our clients and protect their best interests. We focus on obtaining the outcome you desire so that you are in the best possible position to move forward.
When you hire our Monmouth County family law attorneys, you can expect us to:
- Listen to you as you describe your situation, concerns, and goals
- Gather evidence to use to support your position regarding paternity
- Develop a strategy regarding child custody and child support should you prove paternity
- Complete and file all documents with the court for your case
- Work with expert witnesses, when necessary
- Handle all negotiations and conversations with other parties
- Participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options to negotiate an agreeable settlement
- Argue your case before a family court judge and strong advocate for you and your child’s best interest
Establishing paternity is much more than creating a legal obligation or right. You could create a long-life relationship with a child when you prove paternity. However, there are also financial consequences when you are the legal father of a child.
Our Monmouth County paternity attorneys can handle all aspects of your case. We’ll help you navigate the issues related to your paternity case and understand the legal ramifications of the court’s decision.
Why Would Someone Want To Establish the Paternity of a Child?
Paternity refers to the legal relationship between a man and a child. A paternity lawsuit is filed when you need to determine the identity of a child’s father.
When you establish paternity, it gives a man certain legal rights regarding the child. Without establishing paternity, a man cannot make legal decisions for a child, access information about the child, or demand visitation. Establishing paternity allows a man to exercise these rights and other father’s rights.
However, establishing paternity also gives the child certain rights. The child can inherit from the father, be covered by the father’s health insurance, receive Social Security benefits as a dependent, and be entitled to financial support.
How Is Paternity Established Under New Jersey Law?
Paternity issues are common in New Jersey. Approximately one-third of the births in the state during 2019 were to unmarried women.
Typically, a husband is presumed to be the father of a child born during a marriage. The legal presumption continues unless one party contests paternity.
However, if the parents are unmarried, there is no legal presumption regarding paternity. Therefore, the man has no legal rights to the child until the parties establish paternity.
Unmarried parents can establish paternity by:
Filing a Certificate of Parentage
The parents may agree that the man is the father of the child in some cases. Unmarried parents complete and file a Certificate of Parentage with the New Jersey registrar. A Certificate of Parentage may be rescinded within 60 days if both parents agree to rescind the Certificate.
If a child is not the biological child of the husband, the mother and the biological father can sign a Certificate of Parentage. The mother and her husband must sign a Denial of Parentage stating that the husband is not the child’s biological father. Both forms are filed with the state registrar.
Obtaining a Court Order Establishing Paternity
The mother or the alleged father can petition the court for DNA testing to establish paternity. A judge may consider several factors when deciding whether to order a child and a man to undergo paternity testing. Factors the judge can consider include, but are not limited to:
- The nature of the relationship between the child and the man.
- The child’s age and whether the child believes the man to be their father.
- How a man discovered he could be the biological father of a child.
- The nature of a child’s relationship with a man who is presumed to be the child’s biological father.
- How long the man waited to file for a court-ordered DNA test after being notified of the child’s potential paternity.
- The degree of harm the child might suffer if presumed paternity is disproven.
- A child’s interest in understanding genetic and family background.
If there is no presumed father, the court is likely to grant a petition for DNA testing if there is any evidence a man might be a child’s father. Evidence could include statements made by the man or the mother claiming he is the father. Testimony of a relationship between the man and the mother at the time of the child’s conception.
Our Monmouth County paternity lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill understand the legal methods for establishing paternity in New Jersey. Call today for legal advice regarding your situation.
The Consequences of Paternity on Child Support and Child Custody
When a man is the legal father of a child, he is obligated to financially support the child. Additionally, he could be entitled to custody and visitation with the child. Therefore, establishing paternity can significantly impact support and custody matters.
Our Monmouth County family law attorneys have extensive experience in child custody and child support matters. After we help you establish paternity, we can represent you in court to resolve the custody and support issues.
Establishing Child Support Obligations
When you establish paternity, the courts require the father to support the child financially. If the parents are unmarried, child support is based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines base child support on the parents’ combined income and the number of children to support.
A parent’s portion of the combined monthly income determines the base amount of child support payments. A parent pays an amount equal to their portion of the combined monthly income.
Therefore, if a parent earns 75% of the combined monthly income, they are responsible for 75% of the child support obligation. In many cases, the parent who earns more money pays support payments to the parent earning less money.
However, child custody can impact the amount of support a parent must pay. The custodial parent usually receives child support payments. The assumption is that the custodial parent pays most of the child’s expenses because the child primarily lives with that parent.
A judge could consider other factors when ordering child support payments. Healthcare costs, childcare costs, and a child’s special needs might be factors in the child support calculations.
Child Custody, Parenting Plans, and Time-Sharing
Unmarried parents have the same parental rights as married parents. Therefore, establishing paternity impacts custody and visitation.
The court does not give more weight to either parent in custody matters. Instead, both parents are presumed fit parents to have custody unless proven otherwise.
Parents can share joint custody, or a parent can have sole custody of a child. Legal custody refers to which parent has the authority to make decisions for the child. A parent with legal custody can make decisions regarding a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, and extra-curricular activities.
Physical custody refers to where the child lives. A parent with primary physical custody is referred to as the custodial parent. Typically, a child lives with one parent most of the time to provide continuity and security.
A time-sharing and parenting plan establishes a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. Parents are encouraged to negotiate a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule that works best for the family and is in the best interest of the child.
If parents cannot agree to a schedule, the court issues an order for visitation and time-sharing that the judge believes is in the child’s best interest. The judge might order a custody evaluation to provide additional evidence of what would be in the best interest of the child.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Monmouth County Paternity Lawyers
Fighting for paternity can be challenging and emotionally demanding. Contact The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill to schedule a free consultation with one of our Monmouth County paternity attorneys. Your consultation is free of charge and without obligations.
Our divorce law firm in Monmouth County, NJ also provides:
- Monmouth Child Custodity Lawyer
- Mediation Attorney in Monmouth County, NJ
- Monmouth County Child Relocation Lawyers
- Judgment Modifications Lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ
- Prenuptial Agreements Lawyers in Monmouth County, NJ
- Domestic Violence Attorneys in Monmouth County, NJ
- Monmouth County Modifications of Order Lawyer
- Division of Assets Attorney in Monmouth County, NJ
- High Asset Divorce Lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ
- Paternity Lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ