PATERNITY

In law, paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a man and a child usually based on several factors. Where paternity of the child is in question, a party may ask the court to determine paternity of one or several possible fathers (called putative fathers) based initially upon sworn statements and then upon testimony or other evidence. A successful application to the court results in an order assigning paternity to a specific man, possibly including support responsibility and/or visitation rights. Once a father has established paternity and, if he wishes to be part of the child's upbringing, he can effectively establish his parental rights with his child by filing a parenting plan.