Handling Fathers' Rights & Paternity in Bernalillo County & throughout
Establishing paternity is very important. It provides many emotional benefits for the child or children and legally entitles the children to the same rights as those of a child whose parents are married. Our family attorneys at NM Divorce & Custody Law, LLC know the importance of having both parents in a child’s life and can help you with establishing paternity.
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The laws in New Mexico give the opportunity to both the mother and the father to petition for custody and visitation arrangements. Despite the misconceptions, mothers are not favored over fathers. However, fathers must first establish their paternity in court before they can exercise those rights.
When paternity is established, the father can petition for rights such as:
- Legal custody
- Physical custody
- Involvement in important life decisions
- Paternal grandparent visitation
- Responsibility for the child's emotional and financial needs
What is Paternity?
Paternity is the legal status of fatherhood. In New Mexico, this means that a court or government agency has determined which individual is biologically the child’s father, often through paternity testing. It can also be established voluntarily by the parents when they sign an affidavit and file it with the Department of Health. A paternity case involves minor children when the parents are not in a legally recognized marriage.
Why Establish Paternity?
Not only does a child benefit from knowing and developing an emotional bond with both parents, but it also helps the child succeed and find security in knowing their parents. Once paternity is established, the child has the right to inherit benefits upon the father’s death, and the mother can receive child support to help in raising the child. As the established father, you will have rights and responsibilities towards the child including custody or visitation rights.
- A child benefits from knowing and developing an emotional bond with both parents.
- It helps the child succeed and find security in knowing their parents.
- Once paternity is established, the child has the right to inherit benefits upon the father’s death, and the mother can receive child support to help in raising the child.
- As the established father, you will have rights and responsibilities towards the child including custody or visitation rights.
You can establish paternity in a few ways in New Mexico. If your child was born during a marriage or within 300 days following divorce or widowhood, the child will be presumed to be that of the husband. If the child is conceived outside of marriage, paternity will need to be established either voluntarily or through a court order.
Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement
When parents choose to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, they are able to avoid filing a paternity case and going to court. This form of establishing paternity requires signing an affidavit by both parents before a notary that agrees they are each the parents of the child in question. This affidavit is filed with the Department of Health and the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. Parents are able to get paternity testing before signing if they are unsure of the parentage.
If you are unable to agree on who the father of the child is, you can file a paternity case with the New Mexico court. The father's rights lawyers at NM Divorce & Custody Law, LLC can assist you in this. If you are uncertain as the mother of who the father may be between two or more persons, or the alleged father denies paternity, the court may require all parties including the child, to submit to DNA testing.
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