When a child is born out of wedlock, the establishment of parentage must occur for the child to receive support and benefits from his or her father. Current laws allow both the mother and the assumed father the right to establish paternity if they wish to do so. In what ways can Nebraska residents go about establishing paternity?
Regardless of what state you live in, there are two ways to establish paternity. First, the father may voluntarily sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. Second, the mother or father may seek a court order.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
This is a form you may request at the hospital after your child is born or from the state at a later date. All it says is the individual listed on the form is the child’s biological father, and this individual accepts all rights and responsibilities that come with that title. Once signed and notarized, the paperwork needs to go to DHHS Vital Records Management for paternity to become official in the eyes of the state.
If paternity is not voluntarily accepted, the mother or assumed father may take the matter to court. The court may order genetic testing to determine, without a doubt, whether the father is truly the biological father. Genetic testing is pretty simple, and one usually handles it after the child is born by taking blood or tissue samples. Completion of genetic testing can occur before a child is born, but that process is more involved and does present some risks to the mother and pregnancy, so it is not ideal.
Once established, the mother may seek child support and any other benefits to which the child may be entitled. The father may seek custody and fight for a fair support order. Parents may come to child custody and support terms through out-of-court negotiations; however, there are times when a judge is required to weigh in on the situation and issue orders believed to best benefit the child, and that is okay.
Do what is best for your unique situation
If you want to accept paternity voluntarily, go ahead. If you feel the need to complete genetic testing, hold your ground and get it done. You go about establishing paternity in the way you believe is best for your situation, then fight for the support and custody terms you think best serve you and your child.