What is paternity and what does "establishing paternity" mean?
Paternity is fatherhood. Establishing paternity simply means to create a “legal” father.
What are the benefits of establishing paternity?
- Establish identity: Paternity can help create relationships between the father and the child.
- Custody and visitation: Paternity may need to be legally established before a court can order custody and/or visitation.
- Financial: Legal Parentage may allow the child to take advantage of social security benefits, life insurance, pension and retirement, inheritance rights.
- Medical: Father may be able to add child to his health insurance after paternity has been established.
- Access to information: Legal fathers may have the right to access such information as court proceedings, school, medical and religious records.
Why is it best to establish paternity as soon as possible after the child's birth?
Your child has the right to expect regular and continued support from both parents. When you wait, you take the chance that things may change and it may become more difficult to establish paternity. Your child may grow up without the advantages and benefits that come from having both parents share in parental responsibilities. Give your child the best possible chance in life by getting paternity established now.
How is paternity established?
- Paternity can be established in any one of the following circumstances:
- If the mother is married when the baby is born, her husband is considered by law to be the father unless there is a court order to the contrary.
- If the mother has been divorced or widowed for less than ten (10) months, her husband at the time of conception is considered by law to be the father.
- If the mother is not married at the time of conception or birth, paternity can be established these ways:
- Both parents can sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity that is filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics; or
- A Judicial Officer can declare a man the legal father of the child through a stipulation order, a court hearing or by default.
- Both parents and child or children can be genetically tested to establish paternity between the alleged father and child or children.
When is paternity genetic testing necessary?
- When the alleged father questions or denies paternity
- When the mother is uncertain which of two or more persons is the father
- To exclude a person to whom the mother was married when the child was born
- To exclude a person named as the father on the child’s birth certificate and the mother is claiming that someone else is the father.
How is paternity testing done?
A non-invasive way to collect a DNA sample, called a buccal swab, is used to collect cells from the inside of the cheek of the alleged father, the mother and the child.
Where is genetic testing done?
Genetic Testing will be done in our office unless you live outside Clark County.
There are certified laboratories which can accommodate parties residing outside Clark County. The appointment letter should provide directions on when and where to go to complete the genetic testing.
Who pays for the genetic testing?
A Court decides who pays for the genetic testing. A Court usually orders the alleged father to pay the costs if he is found to be the father.
What if the father or mother is not 18?
The age of the father or mother is not relevant under Nevada paternity establishment laws.
How long after a child is born can paternity be established?
Nevada law permits paternity action to be started any time before the child reaches the age of 21.
Can the name of the father be added on the child's birth certificate?
That depends on the situation. A married woman’s husband will be recorded as the father on the child’s birth certificate. When a woman has been divorced or widowed for less than ten (10) months, her husband at the time of conception is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate. When the mother is not married at the time of conception or birth, the name of the father can appear on the child’s birth certificate if paternity affidavit has been completed and notarized first. When the Court establishes paternity, the name of the father as determined by the Court will be entered on the certificate.
Can paternity be established if the father lives outside the State of Nevada?
Yes. The Child Support Enforcement Program will help locate the alleged father or initiate interstate procedures.
Is there a fee for establishing paternity?
While there is no initial fee to file a paternity action, there is a fee for genetic testing and the courts will decide who pays for that.