Parentage / paternity

Parentage, paternity

Nowadays, couples from all walks of life can have children without getting married.

Who is the father?

To answer the question “Who is the father” is not always easy. Even if scientific tests (blood and DNA tests) allow to determine paternity with almost 100 percent accuracy.

In court, paternity is presumed, adjudicated or acknowledged. An adjudicated, presumed, or acknowledged father must pay child support.

Paternity is presumed in the following cases: the husband is considered the father if a child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after his death.

What Is the Purpose of Legally Establishing Parentage when a Child’s Parents Are Not Married?
Each person involved may have a different interest in establishing paternity.

A child wants to know his ancestry. It is in the child’s best interest to establish and know his identity, his parents and his extended family members. A child has the right to inherit and to be supported. Additionally, if confronted with health problems, the family history should be included. It may happen that the child needs a bone marrow transplant.

Unmarried mother
The mother may ask the father to pay child support and additionally to bear the reasonable expenses pertaining to her pregnancy and childbirth.

Every father
Every father has a personal right to know his (non-)paternity. The father may seek parental rights, including paternal custody and visitation rights. He has an obligation to pay child support.

The husband is considered the father if a child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after his death.

A man presumed to be the father
Else, a man presumed to be the father may seek a paternity case to establish that he is not the parent, hence to avert child support.

In each of these scenarios, complications may arise.


The first step is to establish parentage. The second step concerns the welfare of the child, tackling the issues of support, custody and visitation rights, as well as parenting time.

Child support can be expensive. It is determined in parentage cases and in divorce cases according to the same criteria. The child is entitled to the same lifestyle as his parents, whether they are married or not.

Child custody is governed by the best interests of the child. Shared custody or shared decision-making is appropriate in situations where both parents can communicate and collaborate on issues pertaining to their child’s health, education and religious upbringing. – Generally, the parent with whom the child does not live has visitation rights. The frequency and duration of such visitation depends again on the child’s best interests.

The new normal of non-traditional parents

Nowadays, people have several options, they move in with someone, have children, perhaps marry and later divorce, try their luck again and live in blended families with or without a marriage certificate.

Different caregivers
A child may have different caregivers. Over the circle of life, a child may face several non-traditional parents, an unmarried biological father, a stepparent and an equitable parent.

Unwed father (aka alleged father or biological father)

An unwed father (also called alleged father or biological father) has to pay child support to the mother. He has visitation and custody rights.


A stepparent is the new spouse the mother or father legally married, without being the biological relative of the child.

Equitable parent
An equitable parent is someone that has a parent-like role in the child’s life but is neither the biological father nor the adoptive parent.

Do not hesitate to contact me. I can represent your interests, handle contested or agreed paternity, support and custody matters with discretion, with and without resorting to litigation.