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Pennsylvania fathers' rights: When and how to establish paternity

There are numerous unwed fathers in the state of Pennsylvania. In order for their fathers' rights to be protected and for mothers to seek financial support, paternity will need to be established. When and how can this be accomplished?

Paternity can either be volunteered or established through testing. Those who wish to volunteer parentage simply have to fill out a form with the consent of the child's mother and file the document with the state. Those who want concrete evidence of paternity before accepting the duties and responsibilities that accompany the role of parent may request that DNA testing be performed.

DNA testing can be done before or after a child is born. Before birth can be a little risky for both mother and baby, but it is possible. After birth, both father and child can be tested through a cheek swab and/or blood test. In order to have paternity testing done, a court order will need to be obtained and the testing will have to be done at a court-approved facility.

After paternity is either volunteered or formally established through testing, mothers and fathers will have the right to petition for support and/or custody. These issues may be negotiated out of court first and then submitted to a judge for approval. However, there are many cases that require litigation in order to ensure fathers' rights and the best interests of the child are being fully protected. An experienced family law attorney will be able to assist unwed fathers in Pennsylvania with such matters.

Source: FindLaw, "Chronology: Establishing Paternity", Accessed on March 5, 2017

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