Paternity is defined as the legal status of fatherhood. Questioning paternity can be complicated, emotional and downright traumatic. If this is a predicament you are involved in then hopefully the following article will provide some guidance in establishing paternity in New Mexico.
Paternity is established when:
• a child is born during a marriage or within 300 days following the mother becoming divorced or widowed; the husband is presumed to be the father of the child; or
• when a child is conceived outside of marriage, paternity will need to be established either voluntarily or by court order through a paternity lawsuit.
Voluntary acknowledgment is clearly the easier path. Parents sign a voluntary acknowledgment form in the presence of a notary public which formalizes the agreement that they are the child’s parents. After the notarized form is filed with the Department of Health, the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate.
If there isn’t an acknowledgement of who the child’s father is, a claim can be filed in court. The parties who have standing to file a paternity lawsuit are: the mother, the man who claims to be the child’s father, a guardian or the Department of Social Services (if the child is receiving government assistance).
Although it may be obvious why it is so important to establish paternity, some reasons are often overlooked in litigation. Identity would likely be critical to a person’s sense of self and wellbeing. People generally want to know who they are, and who they came from. Then there is the documented proof that children benefit greatly from having relationships with both parents. Children are happier when bonded to both parents.
Beyond wellbeing, there is wellness. An enormous motivation in establishing paternity is to gain insight into what medical issues the child may have, or could face in the future. Think about how every doctor’s form asks for family history. It is evidently crucial information medical professionals seek when providing treatment; therefore, it is crucial to ascertain.
Establishing paternity is a serious legal milestone for all parties. Children have legal rights such as inheritance, as well as entitlement to government benefits when a parent dies. Mothers have the legal right to seek child support after paternity is established. Fathers have the legal right to seek child custody after paternity is established. All in all, this is just a glimpse into the duties and rights of paternity.
The process of establishing paternity is an emotional toil bound to have immense impact. Don’t shoulder it on your own. Contact the family law experts at the Lightning Legal Group today. We stay current on the law in order to assist you with it. Schedule a free consultation by calling 505-247-2390.