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A helpful guide for unmarried parents trying to establish paternity

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Family Law

Not every adult couple in Maryland is ready to tie the knot. With that said, unmarried couples raising a new child can deal with more challenges than they might think. Setting up legal paternity is about much more than a piece of paper. It’s also a process you don’t want to get wrong. Here’s how to establish paternity in Maryland.

How to establish paternity

It’s important to note that establishing paternity can differ from state to state. In Maryland, you can establish paternity through either an Affidavit of Parentage form or court order. The paternal figure may also need to undergo genetic testing to prove they’re the father of their child.

It’s important to avoid confusing an Affidavit of Parentage with a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage. A child’s biological father should be the only person signing the latter document.

Contested paternity situations

What happens if an adult male wants to establish paternity, but they’re not your child’s birth father? If that’s the case, this situation becomes a slightly more complicated family law matter. If one person contests another individual’s paternity rights, it’s likely for a judicial case to resolve this disagreement.

How long does it take to establish paternity?

As you learned, it takes several steps to establish paternity. Because of these steps, expect to potentially wait several weeks before a court can officially declare someone to be a paternal figure in a child’s life. Most of this wait comes from genetic testing and the time it takes to process these tests.

Establishing paternity is good to do as soon as possible. With legal paternity established, a child can receive insurance benefits, collect inheritances and have other important rights.