Proving Paternity in Las Vegas
Under Nevada family law, paternity demands specific responsibilities from the father. The father must support his children and, if he’s not the custodial parent, he is expected to spend time with them via partial custody or visitation.
Simply put, paternity is fatherhood. Under Nevada law, the husband or domestic partner of the mother is the father. If for any reason, the couple is not together at the time of the birth but were within 285 days of the birth, her husband or domestic partner is the father as far as the law is concerned. This rule includes situations when widows give birth after the death of the husband or domestic partner, as long as the death occurred within 285 days of the delivery.
Legal paternity is annullable only if the court establishes that someone else is the biological father or if the biological father signs a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Under Nevada law, any attempts to establish paternity must begin before the child turns 21.
Biological paternity is provable only by testing the DNA of the child and the parent. In most cases, the parties agree that the mother’s partner is the only possible father. If he has doubts, he can request a DNA test to establish paternity. If the mother is uncooperative, the father has the right to request that the court order a DNA test.
Paternal Rights and Responsibilities
If the parents are separated when the child is born, but in agreement that they are the parents, they can present a Decree of Paternity with the Nevada family court. The Decree of Paternity should include schedules for child support, child custody, and visitation.
With your children’s wellbeing at stake, your Decree of Paternity needs to be well-crafted and fair and equitable to all parties. The Las Vegas paternity attorneys at McFarling Law Group can help you negotiate, draft, and record the Decree of Paternity, as well as other documents needed for your case.
In Nevada, if a couple is not married when the child is born, the mother has primary custody of the child, even if the parents are cohabiting. Until the father is identified legally, by either a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or by a DNA test, the father has limited rights over the child.
The majority of family law cases are child custody disputes. Child custody issues are fraught with emotion and can be extremely contentious. In cases where paternity is in dispute, there could be three parties to the case: the mother, the biological father, and the legal father. The legal father may want to retain custody of or establish visitation rights to a child he’s raised, despite learning later that he is not the biological father.
Nevada family law puts the best interests of the child over those of the parents. The judge will:
- Review the living situations of each parent
- Assess the child’s relationship with each parent
- Review the parents’ relationships with each other
- Check if there is a history of domestic violence
- Order DNA tests, if necessary, to determine the biological father
In cases without a history of domestic violence or abuse, the judge will award primary custody to the parent who is most able to recognize and provide for the child’s needs, including helping the child build a healthy relationship with the other parent. If there is a history of domestic violence or abuse, the abusive parent will not be eligible for custody. Supervised visitation is a possibility in those cases.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, you need the Las Vegas paternity lawyers of McFarling Law Group. Our attorneys are not only well-versed in all of the relevant family law, but they are also familiar with the Law Vegas family court judges, each of whom weighs custody factors differently. Your attorney will combine their knowledge with their relationship with the local courts to help build a solid case.
Under Nevada law, child support is the responsibility of the father, regardless of his partnership status with the mother. The legal father must pay child support unless and until it has been established that he is not the biological father. The biological father must pay child support once it has been established that he is the biological father. The child is entitled to benefits from both parents, including insurance, Social Security rights, death benefits, and more.
Under Nevada law, the age of the parents does not impact their rights and responsibilities. An unmarried father who is under the age of 18 can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity but must have his parents’ consent to sign the acknowledgment. An unmarried father under the age of 18 who disputes paternity must comply with any court-ordered DNA tests.
Termination of Parental Rights
It is possible to terminate the rights of a parent in some cases. If the parent is violent to either their spouse or child, the other parent can request a termination of parental rights. If a stepparent wishes to adopt the child, the biological parent can agree to terminate their parental rights.
A termination of parental rights is referred to under Nevada family law as a “civil death penalty.” The parent whose rights are terminated no longer has any responsibilities, such as child support, towards the child, and loses all rights, including visitation. If that parent agrees to the termination of parental rights, the process is relatively simple. If that parent challenges the termination, the burden of proving that the termination is the best thing for the child will need to meet very high standards.
If you are concerned about paternity issues, you need a Las Vegas paternity law firm with experience in Nevada family law. At McFarling Law Group, our Las Vegas paternity attorneys are experienced in all paternity matters, from child custody and child support to parental access.
Call us at 702-766-6671 to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer to review your case.