Legal Paternity: Legal Points

By Clark Huffine

Legal paternity is the acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a man and a child, under the law. In common law, a child born to the wife during a marriage is the husband's child, pursuant to the so called presumption of lawful paternity. The husband or father then is vested with complete rights, duties and obligations with respect to the child.

This presumption nevertheless can be refuted by contrary evidence. Jurisdictions differ widely on when a judgment establishing paternity or a support obligation based on the presumption can be set aside on the grounds that the husband was not in fact the father.

In this particular jurisdiction, whenever the paternity of the child is being put in issue, one party may rightfully seek redress from the courts through a petition for the determination of the paternity of putative fathers. A prosperous petition to the court will assign the paternity to a particular man who will be deemed for all intents and purposes as the father of the child. This court ruling will usually include awards for alimony or support for the child, vesting of legal rights to the child, and other appropriate rights such as visitation rights.

Once a father has established paternity and, if he wishes to be part of the child's upbringing, he can effectively establish his parental rights with his child by filing a parenting plan. In the United States, under the law parents are required to file this plan with a district court. It outlines how the biological parents will share parental responsibilities on matters such as legal custody, physical custody which means parenting time or visitation, and medical insurance.

Full parental responsibility are assigned to fathers even in cases of women lying about contraception, as allowed by some laws on legal paternity assign The most notable in this respect is the employment of deceit such as oral sex followed by self artificial insemination as decided in the case of State of Louisiana versus Frisard, or statutory rape by the woman herself, as ruled in the case of Hermesmann versus Seyer. - 32385

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