Why would someone want to establish paternity?

There are a few situations that may cause people to want to establish their paternity of a child. One of the more common reasons has to do with child custody. If two parents never married, and the father wants to get custody or visitation of their child, they will need to prove that they are the child’s father.

How Alabama defines a father

Each state defines the word “father” differently, so it’s essential to be familiar with the guidelines in the state where you reside. First, a person is assumed to be the biological father of a child under these circumstances:

  • He and the mother are or were married, and the child was born during the marriage
  • While the child is under the age of 18, he provides housing, emotional, and financial support for them
  • He affirms his paternity of the child in writing and files it with the court

Other definitions of a father      

Besides being recognized as the biological father of a child, Alabama has a few other terms they use concerning paternity.

The first term is “acknowledged father.” An acknowledged father is a man who has admitted his paternity to a child that was born outside of marriage.

The second term is “putative father.” A putative father is a man who has claimed to be the father of a child, but the court has not confirmed it yet.

How can someone prove their paternity?

In cases where paternity is not presumed, a man will have to prove that he is the father. To do this, he will have to file a paternity affidavit with the court, which is essentially a written document saying that he is the father. In some cases, the court might require genetic testing for confirmation.

If you have questions about establishing paternity or need guidance along the process, an experienced family law attorney can help you.

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