Paternity law involves the legal recognition of a child's biological father, typically established through genetic testing. For example, when a child's paternity is in question, or denied by the father, the mother may file a paternity suit against the alleged father to obtain child support. This section includes resources and articles about how paternity is established; its legal significance; grounds for challenging paternity claims; an overview of paternity tests; links to paternity laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; and other related topics.
- Introduction to Paternity
Read this introductory article to learn about the legal definition of paternity, a father’s legal rights and responsibilities, how paternity is established, and how to challenge paternity.
- Legal Significance of Paternity
Learn about why establishing paternity is important to the life of a child. This article discusses how paternity affects important rights such as the ability to make decisions for the child and the child’s right to inherit.
- Paternity Suit FAQ
Answers to many frequently asked questions about paternity suits, or the process by which a child’s legal father is determined. You'll find important information for both biological and non-biological fathers.
- Chronology: Establishing Paternity
Paternity can be established at any point after the child is born. Learn about the best methods, whether you're married or unmarried, and regardless of how old the child is.
- Voluntary and Formal Proceedings
A man can choose to undergo paternity proceedings in “voluntary proceedings,” or may be forced to do so in “formal proceedings.” This article has useful information on both kinds of procedures.
- Blood Tests and DNA
Medically establishing paternity is fairly simple today. Read about the most common paternity tests, including blood tests and DNA tests, and how they stand up in court.