A father petitioning for paternity needs to have a full understanding of the legal process. Fathers who are unmarried in the Rhode Island can establish paternity in two ways.

The first route is a voluntary process that utilizes a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. This is a document signed by both the child’s mother and father, confirming the singing male is the legal father. This form is typically presented to the parents at the hospital when the child is born.

The second route is through an involuntary process, which involves filing a complaint to establish paternity. However, if the mother was married to someone else when the child was born or conceived, the husband must be served with a complaint and summons before the petitioning father can file a complaint to establish paternity. Additionally, the law assumes that a child born under such circumstances is the child of the Husband. Usually this means the Husband will even be placed on the birth certificate of the child.

If the husband signs an Affidavit of Nonpaternity, he may not have to appear in court, and a Judge can use genetic marker tests (DNA) to confirm the biological father. The biological mother, the man claiming parentage, and the child will each submit to DNA testing.

Once paternity is established, the child is entitled to support from both parents. Parents may come to their own settlement on custody and visitation or seek a court ruling if an agreement cannot be made.

Petitioning for paternity rights can be a complicated legal matter. If you need guidance on how to proceed with paternity, guardianship, or custody, you need attorneys who know the legal system inside and out. We’re here to help you navigate this often-complicated process.