Greenville Paternity Lawyers
Achieving Desired Outcomes Since 1993
When unmarried parents have a child, the Family Court often refers to the case as a “paternity” action, as that is often the first thing that must be ascertained. Paternity must be established before the Court can go on to address other usual issues concerning custody, visitation, support, and other important matters concerning the child. Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, has represented hundreds of parents in connection with paternity cases, whether you are the mother or the father. Please schedule a consultation with our Greenville paternity lawyers to learn what the rights and responsibilities of each parent is in these circumstances.
What is Paternity?
Paternity, which means “legal fatherhood,” refers to the rights and responsibilities that fathers of children have under the law. When unmarried biological fathers wish to be the legal father of their children, they must establish paternity.
Reasons why many paternity actions are brought forth include:
- To impose a child support obligation (typically filed by the mother)
- Establish a right to inheritance
- Gain child custody rights
- Secure consent for a child’s adoption
- Provide access to family history and medical information
- Ensuring the children can receive Social Security and insurance benefits from both parents
In South Carolina, there are three ways paternity can be established if the parties never married:
- Both parents acknowledge paternity by signing what is known as a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement when their child is born at the hospital
- Both parents complete the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement at any time after their child is born at the State Office of Vital Records
- A court order is issued to state who the legal father is
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are benefits to establishing paternity for both fathers and mothers. For fathers, having paternity can allow them legal rights to regular and holiday visitation with their children. Mothers are typically the ones who seek to establish paternity to relieve some of their financial burdens. Fathers can be held responsible for paying child support.
If parents can’t agree on custody, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to recommend a solution based on the best interests of the children.
Factors the court takes into consideration when establishing custody after paternity include:
- The wishes of the child, depending on their age
- The Guardian ad Litem report
- How familiar the child is with each parent
- The child’s relationship to their current home, school, and community
Obtaining Paternal Consent
If fathers are the legal fathers of their children, potential stepparents will need to acquire their consent if they want to adopt the children. It’s important to know that when fathers give their consent, they’re terminating their parental rights. The mother may also want to establish paternity to determine that the father isn’t actually the birth father so they can proceed with the adoption and not ask for consent.
If you need legal representation and counsel as a father looking to establish a relationship with your children, or as a mother who needs financial support in raising your kids, call our attorneys. Our team has worked on countless paternity cases since 1993 and offers personalized care to each case. We take the time to understand what your needs and desired outcomes are and fight for quality results.