Most of the custody cases that follow marriage dissolution are straightforward. Unless you have an objection, the law assumes that all children born during the marriage are biologically yours. However, if you have any reason to think that you might not be the biological father, the law allows you to take the necessary steps to prove paternity. If this is the case, the custody case might take a completely different direction depending on the outcome. Here is everything that you need to know about paternity and child support. 

The Meaning of Paternity

Paternity is simply the process of determining that you are the biological father of the child whose custody case is in court. The court will need you to carry out a DNA test to see whether there is a match between you and the child. Many courts will not proceed with the custody hearing until you establish paternity. It is crucial that you have a lawyer guiding you through this process and helping you follow the recommended steps. 

The Importance of Taking the Paternity Test

The paternity test protects the father and mother locked in a custody battle over their child. If the court establishes that you are the biological father of the said child, you will have legal rights to visit them. You also get to host them, depending on the final custody agreement. Paternity also helps determine whether you should financially support the child. If the tests determine that you are not the father, you will not have any legal obligation to visit them, provide for them, or have a relationship with them. On the other hand, a positive outcome means you have to take up responsibilities over the child. 

The Possibility to Test an Unborn Baby

Sometimes marital issues arise even before the baby is born, and it is common in cases where you were not married to the mother when the pregnancy happened. Medical technology exists to help determine the paternity of a fetus. It is good to know that methods like extracting the amniotic fluid come with their risks. You should consult a family lawyer about the possible liabilities you might face if the testing goes wrong to help you make an informed choice. 

Determining paternity is typically the first step in resolving custody battles. You should consult an experienced family law attorney about the issue. With their expertise, you will follow all the recommended legal steps. They will ensure that you step into the custody court with clear information on the paternity of the children.

For more information, contact a family law firm near you.