New Orleans Paternity Lawyers
Helping determine the father of your child In New Orleans and Slidell
There are different ways to establish paternity in Louisiana. Paternity is the legal recognition that a man is indeed the father of a child. The most common way to establish paternity is when two spouses have a child. The mother’s husband is presumed to be the father. If the child is born out of wedlock, or if a married father objects to paternity, then paternity must be established through court orders to protect the rights of everyone involved.
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans family lawyers work on behalf of mothers who want to establish paternity, men who want to contest paternity, fathers who want to acknowledge paternity, and even children (through a guardian) who want to establish who their father is. We’ll explain how a claim for paternity is filed, and what tests and other factors are used to confirm paternity.
How can we help?
- How does a mother establish legal paternity of her child in New Orleans?
- Why would a mother want to confirm paternity in New Orleans?
- How does the acknowledgment of paternity affidavit process work in Louisiana?
- What happens if there is a dispute about paternity?
- Do you have a paternity lawyer near me?
How does a mother establish legal paternity of her child in New Orleans?
A mother in New Orleans can take the following steps to establish paternity. Our paternity lawyers will explain the best method for your circumstances:
- Request that the father sign a Paternity Acknowledgement Affidavit when the child is born
- Ask the person the mother believes is the father to take a genetic test to determine paternity
- File a court order if the father refuses to acknowledge paternity or take the test
Why does a mother seek to confirm paternity in New Orleans?
Some of the reasons a mother should seek to confirm paternity are:
- Children have a right to know who their parents are
- Children have the right to have a father in their life to raise them, educate them, and love them
- To obtain child support payments and health insurance coverage for the children
- To establish a father’s rights to custody and visitation
- To obtain certain government benefits, such as Veterans Administration (VA) benefits through the father
- To inherit from the father through the child/children’s succession rights
- To know a father’s medical history in case the child develops certain medical disorders
- To obtain a US immigrant visa or US citizenship based on the father-child relationship
Fathers are often willing to consider signing an affidavit or take a genetic paternity test to affirm the above conditions and rights. Fathers also have the right to file a lawsuit to establish paternity.
How does the acknowledgement of paternity affidavit process work in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit can be signed after the child is born. If the child was born out of wedlock, the parents must sign the form before a notary public and two witnesses. The affidavit is generally controlling when it comes to any paternity issues. When the paternity acknowledgement is signed at the hospital, it is filed along with the child’s birth certificate.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, when the Acknowledge of Paternity Affidavits are signed in the hospital when the child is born, the affidavits and the birth certificate are submitted to the Vital Records Registry by the hospital staff. There should be no charge for these filings. The birth certificate will show the name and paternity information that appear on the Affidavits.
If the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavits are executed following the registration of your child's birth certificate with Vital Records, additional processing fees are required. Our New Orleans paternity lawyers will help ensure the proper paperwork is filed with the correct fees.
The Louisiana Department of Health states that the Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit (when a child is born outside of marriage) is used to include the biological father’s name on the child’s birth certificate, if the mother wasn’t married at the time of the birth, or within 300 days of the birth.
The Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit should not be used if there already is another Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit on record.
The affidavit requires the following information:
- The form should be completed in black ink without alterations, scratch-outs, or white-outs.
- Each item should be completed including insurance coverage – even if the coverage doesn’t cover the cost of the child’s birth.
- The signer’s Social Security number.
- The form should be signed by both parents, per the Department of Health, “with two witnesses in the presence of a licensed notary. DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM BEFORE YOU HAVE IT NOTARIZED. Show the notary your picture identification. The notary must write or stamp their State Notary ID Number under their signature.”
- To change the child’s last name, identify the name that should appear on the birth certificate in the Child's Information Section of the form. Otherwise, a Louisiana court order will be required to change the child’s name.
The Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit can be used for any child born in Louisiana.
The Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit can also be used to add a biological father if the child was born outside of a marriage, and the mother was married to someone who was not the father at the time of the birth, or the divorce wasn’t completed within 300 days before the birth.
In this case, the form:
- “Requires the notarized signatures of the mother, the husband/ex-husband, and the biological father.”
- The form must also include/accompany a DNA-based paternity test – “identifying the father with at least a 99.9% probability from a DNA testing laboratory.”
Anyone in Louisiana who signs the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit can revoke acknowledgement if done so within 60 days of the signing, and the revocation form is filed with Vital Records within 60 days from the signing and other requirements are met.
What happens if there is a dispute about paternity?
Either the mother, the alleged father, the child, or the state of Louisiana can request a paternity determination. The judge assigned to your case will likely examine the child’s birth certificate and take testimony from the witnesses.
The court may also require that the mother, alleged father, and child all take DNA tests, which are very reliable. The cost can run up to about $500. Initially, the person who filed the paternity request pays the fee. If the alleged father is determined to be the real father, then he must reimburse the person who paid for the test. If the alleged father is not the father, then generally the mother reimburses who ever paid for the test.
Do you have a paternity lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham has two offices located in South Louisiana:
For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.
Speak with our New Orleans paternity lawyers today
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our family lawyers handle the full range of marital and parental issues including divorce, custody, spousal support, child support, adoption, and paternity. We’ll help you confirm the identity of the father of your child so he can meet his obligations. We also represent men who want to assert their parental rights. To discuss all your family law questions including paternity, call us or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with a respected experienced New Orleans and Slidell family lawyer. We’re ready to help you today.