Representing Individuals in Des Moines, Iowa & Throughout Polk County and Nearby in Paternity Matters
A father in Des Moines, Iowa’s right to be a part of his child’s life is one of the utmost foundational rights as a father. This is also one of the most important aspects of paternity law. Paternity falls under family law and its purpose is to help establish a relationship between a father and his child. This relationship gives the father the right to seek custody and visitation. It also gives the father the responsibility to financially support and be involved in the child’s life.
Sometimes, however, the mother may not be cooperative in allowing the father to have an active role in the child’s life. In these family law cases in Des Moines, having a caring Polk County paternity attorney on your side is crucial to helping you fight for your rights. At Stange Law Firm, our Iowa paternity lawyers handle all aspects of paternity cases, from establishing paternity to enforcing rights. We know the importance of fathers being able to play an active role in their child’s life, and we will advocate to assist you in getting the time you deserve with your child. Contact a Des Moines, IA family law attorney today to secure exclusive family law representation.
What Is Paternity?
Paternity is the legal term used to describe the father-child relationship. In Iowa, there are a few processes for establishing paternity:
- Paternity Affidavit – This is a legal document that allows a man and a woman to voluntarily declare that the man is the biological father of a child.
- Court Order – Either parent may file an action with the court looking for the determination of paternity. This action can also be filed by the Polk County child support office if the case is enrolled and open in their office. Parties can agree to paternity without DNA testing, request DNA testing to determine paternity, or the court can hear evidence and make a determination as to whether or not paternity should be established.
What Legal Responsibilities Does Paternity Give the Father in Polk County?
Paternity gives the father several legal rights and responsibilities. These include:
- Custody: The father is entitled to seek custody of his child. This is something that both parents are entitled to once a child has been born. If the father has been identified later in the child’s life, or if paternity has been disputed, he has full rights to seek custody once paternity has been effectively established.
- Visitation: The father also has the ability to seek visitation rights with his child. This is an important factor towards the father to be involved in the child’s life. If there is a current custody arrangement in place in which a child spends more time with the other parent, this can be especially true. If the other parent has been granted full custody, the father still has the ability to petition the court for visitation rights to ensure he can spend time with his child.
- Child Support: The father is also responsible for supporting his child financially. In Iowa, child support is calculated by applying uniform child support guidelines created by the Iowa Supreme Court, which is designed to recognize the duty of both parents to provide support to their children. These funds are then used to cover the costs of raising the child.
What Can Make Paternity Hard to Establish in Des Moines, Iowa?
In some situations, establishing paternity may prove to be difficult. Those reasons include:
- When the other parent refuses to cooperate with DNA testing: In order to establish paternity through DNA testing, both the other parent and the alleged father need to submit to a test. The test searches for certain markers in the DNA that can be matched to the child. If the other parent does not want to submit to testing, it can make it harder to establish paternity. However, courts have the ability to order the other parent to submit to testing if there is reason to assume that the person is the child’s father. The other parent is not able to legally deny a suspected father from taking a paternity test.
- When the mother is married to someone else: If the mother is married when the child is born, the child’s father is automatically presumed to be her husband. This can make it more challenging to establish paternity if her husband is not, in fact, the father. To establish paternity in this scenario, the father would be required to prove that the husband is not the child’s father through DNA testing.
- When the father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate: Typically when a mother is not sure of who the father was at birth, a father’s name will not be included on a birth certificate. This will initially provide the father no legal rights to the child, but he is able to petition the court to have his name added to the birth certificate once paternity has been established.
How Can Paternity Be Established in Des Moines, IA?
In the state of Iowa, paternity is able to be established in a few different ways. A man in Iowa is presumed to be the father of a child if he and his wife are married when the child is born. If that criteria is not met, paternity can legally be established in Iowa in one of two ways:
- Paternity Affidavit, or
- Court Order
Contact Stange Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa in Polk County, IA Today
If you need help establishing paternity in Des Moines, need assistance enforcing paternal rights, or have any other questions regarding your rights as a father, contact Stange Law Firm in Polk County today. We can help make sure that your rights are protected and that you have and maintain strong relationship with your child.
We believe that no one should have to navigate the paternity process alone, which is why we are happy to talk with you regarding your paternity rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Polk County (Des Moines) Office (515-706-9130) | 699 Walnut St., Suite 455, Des Moines, Iowa 50309