Rogers, AR Paternity Dispute Attorney
Managing a paternity dispute issue can be a stressful ordeal. If you are unsure about your parental status and you are not on good terms with the mother of the child, you could find yourself embroiled in a paternity issue. Fortunately, you have options to deal with a potential paternity dispute. If you are involved in a paternity dispute, consult with an experienced Rogers paternity dispute attorney today.
At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the aggressive and unique legal representation needed to handle your legal case. Paternity disputes between parents can be a sensitive issue, and we are here to help you streamline the process. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840, or contact us online.
Methods of Establishing and Denying Paternity in Arkansas
To establish paternity means to determine the biological father of a child. There are multiple ways for a person to establish paternity in Arkansas. For example, if the father and mother of the child are married, the husband will be presumed to be the biological father of the child. However, if the parents are not married, the father will have to use other means to prove paternity.
If the parents of a child are not married, there are two ways to establish paternity. The first way is to file a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity; the other is to file a claim with Arkansas’ Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (AOP) is a form that must be filed before the child turns 18 years of age. As mentioned, this form is reserved for when the parents of a child are not married. However, if the father of the child was not the mother’s husband, the AOP form can be filed by the biological father or the mother. Other parties that can file an AOP form include the grandparent or parent of the alleged father (putative father) or Arkansas’ OCSE.
To be valid, an AOP form must be signed by one or both parents, and it must be notarized. By using this method of establishing paternity, the parents of a spouse can avoid going to court to determine the father of a child. Arkansas has also made it free to file an AOP form.
Arkansas’ OCSE can also help parents establish paternity. A case can be opened with OCSE by the putative father or the mother. The mother of the child will typically open a case if the father is unwilling to submit to the court for paternity testing. In this case, the court will issue an order to force the father to participate in the paternity case.
If a paternity case is opened with the court, there will be genetic testing performed on the mother, putative father, and the child. Arkansas states that genetic testing is accurate if there is a 95% match between the child and the putative father.
To learn more about filing for paternity, continue reading and speak with an experienced Arkansas family law attorney today.
Rights of a Biological Father in a Paternity Dispute
If the putative father were established as the biological father, the court would not automatically award the father with rights reserved for a parent. The reason for this is that when a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is automatically given legal custody. As a result, once a putative father proves that he is the biological father of a child, he must also prove that he is capable of caring for the child.
To determine whether a father can care for a child, the court will look at various factors:
- Whether the father would be a fit parent, for example, engaging in the use of drugs would be a serious issue
- Whether the father is capable of providing financial support for the child or has already been financially involved in decisions for the child
- The child’s best interest
The court will use these factors to determine whether a father is eligible to share custody with the mother of the child.
It is important to note that in cases where the father of the child is unwilling to care for the child, the father may be ordered to pay child support to the mother. Child support is intended to help the mother provide for the child’s overall health and other needs like education.
Work with a Trusted Rogers, AR Paternity Dispute Lawyer Today
If you are engaged in a paternity dispute, contact an experienced Rogers paternity dispute lawyer today. The family law attorneys at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP possess decades of combined legal experience that we will utilize to help you resolve your legal case. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your legal matter, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840.