Consult with Our Firm About Paternity and South Carolina Paternity Law.
The legal father of a child is determined by using South Carolina paternity law, which will govern the rights and responsibilities of a child’s father, and will be applied regardless of whether the mother and father are married. Paternity is a serious obligation, and using a family law attorney may be necessary if there is any doubt or dispute on the true paternity of a child.
Methods of Establishing Paternity
If a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth, then the husband is the legal father and his name will be placed on the birth certificate. If the husband is not the child’s biological father, then specific steps must be taken to have the child’s biological father listed on the child’s birth certificate.
When a child’s parents are not married, voluntary paternity is established when the parents agree that the child is the father’s. South Carolina paternity laws allow for fathers to make voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This is obviously the simplest method for establishing paternity, but sometimes either the mother or father dispute the claim of paternity.
In the event of a dispute, a petition to establish paternity can be filed either with the Department of Social Services or through legal action in South Carolina Family Court. A DNA test is frequently required and used as the primary method to establish paternity. South Carolina paternity law allows either the mother or father to file the petition or court case to seek a determination of paternity.
Reasons to Establish Paternity
For unmarried parents, there are many reasons paternity should be established including:
- Allowing the child to have a relationship with both biological parents;
- Providing access to family history and medical information;
- Ensuring the child can receive insurance and Social Security benefits and inheritances from both parents;
- Establishing an obligation for the non-custodial parent to pay child support for the child;
- Instituting rights of access, custody, and visitation for the child’s biological Father; and
- Establishing paternity helps children feel secure in their legal connection to both parents.
All of these benefits come from legal fatherhood established under South Carolina paternity law. If you wish to file a petition for paternity, Dell Family Law can help you with either an administrative hearing or petition in South Carolina Family Court, and recommend that you use legal counsel early in the process, as paternity determinations are difficult to change once they have been made. Please contact us to discuss the steps of establishing the paternity of your child.