PATERNITY & FATHERS’ RIGHTS
According to the 2017 data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 40% of the babies in Pennsylvania were born out of wedlock. The image of a family in 2020 is quite different from how it was thirty or forty years ago. Fortunately, the laws of the state have managed to adjust to the changes of society, making sure that unmarried parents are given the same rights that married parents are given.
For mothers, their marital status does not affect their physical or legal custody of their baby in any way. It’s the same for fathers; their rights as fathers don’t decrease if they’re not married to the child’s mother. However, if the mother does not want him in the child’s life, he’s going to need to establish paternity if he wants to take part in child support or child custody.
Regardless of you and your partner’s relationship, it’s important that you legally secure your rights (and access) as a father to your child. Our team of paternity and father’s rights attorneys at Voelker Kairys & Morris are here to walk with you through the entire process. We are committed to using our years of experience, expertise in Pennsylvania family law, and resources to secure your place and fulfill your role in your child’s life and future.
Married, single, or divorced, if you are a father that seeks to have physical access as well as decision-making authority over your minor child/children, our Pennsylvania father’s rights lawyers here at Voelker Kairys & Morris are committed to getting the best possible legal outcome for you.
Divorced Father’s Rights
In this day and age in the United States, divorce is far from uncommon, with 40 to 50% of US marriages ending in divorce. The Pennsylvania divorce rate is actually the fifth lowest in the country, even with a total of 33,412 divorces and annulments in the year 2018 alone. Because of the prevalence of divorce, talking about a divorced father’s rights is no longer taboo, it’s necessary.
Many people assume that the mother is almost always assigned as the custodial parent after a divorce and that there is a custody preference for women over men. But this is not the law in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, there is no presumption that custody should be awarded to one specific parent, and its laws maintain a gender-neutral basis for custody-related decisions.
If you are struggling with family legal issues concerning your paternity and your rights as a divorced father, Voelker Kairys & Morris is here to help you fight for your role in raising your child. Whether you went through a divorce is mutual consent, no-fault, or fault divorce, our sharp and experienced Pittsburgh family law attorneys are ready to assist you with matters such as child support, child custody, parental relocation, custody modification, etc.
Pennsylvania courts’ decisions are always based on the best interests of the child. By partnering with our competent and compassionate father’s rights attorneys here at Voelker Kairys & Morris, you can rest assured that we will protect your right to stay in your child’s life and, at the same time, safeguard the future and welfare of your family.
Pennsylvania Paternity Law
Paternity is defined as the quality or state of being a father, or simply as fatherhood. As such, when one is looking to “establish paternity,’ it means that they want to determine if the person in question is the child’s legal father as well as what rights and responsibilities they have to the child.
In the state of Pennsylvania, paternity can be established in two ways—voluntarily and involuntarily. When both the mother and a man claiming paternity agree that the man is, in fact, the biological father of the child, paternity is established voluntarily and is documented in a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form signed by both parents.
If, however, either the mother or father denies or disputes paternity, then the matter becomes an involuntary establishment of paternity. It becomes a court issue, and it is up to the Pennsylvania courts to determine if the man really is the biological father. If the court finds that he is, then it issues an order of paternity, and the father’s name can then be legally added to the child’s birth certificate. The father can then enjoy his rights and access to his child, and the child is then also entitled to support from the father.
There are cases when a father believes that he is not the biological father of the child and refuses to acknowledge paternity. He has the right not to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form and can request paternity to be established through DNA/genetic testing. Depending on the results of the test, the court then issues an order declaring whether the man really is the biological father of the child or not.
The road to getting a court order that establishes or disproves paternity is definitely not a smooth one as it is done through petitions, court proceedings, and a possibly complicated court process. This is where our team of accomplished father’s rights attorneys at Voelker Kairys & Morris come in. We can help you have a clear idea about your situation, know what your options are, and understand the possible outcomes.
Choose Pittsburgh’s Trusted Family Law Attorneys
Voelker Kairys & Morris is your go-to Pittsburgh, PA family law office. Our reliable, reputable attorneys have provided realistic legal advice to countless Pittsburgh residents through meticulous research, compassionate communication, years of experience, professional insight, and aggressive representation.
Whether you are looking to establish paternity and claim your rights as a father, or intend to challenge paternity and protect your interests from exploitation, we are ready to guide, support, and assist you from initial family law consultation up to the release of the court order. Family law is our area of expertise, and we would want nothing more than to have our highly qualified, highly competent attorneys help you out with family legal matters such as divorce, child support, child custody, and paternity in Pennsylvania.