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Establishing paternity in a child custody suit

Aside from the rare circumstance that two babies are accidentally switched at birth, there is no denying who the mother of a particular child happens to be. However, in the case of fathers, there are times when a mother does not know who the father of her baby happens to be. Alternatively, a mother might deny that a particular man is the father of her child, when in fact he is. If the father wants to claim his paternity rights in situations like these, a paternity lawsuit may be necessary.

In the past, paternity lawsuits were difficult issues for courts to navigate -- because it was not always easy to tell who the father of a child was. Now, with modern advancements in genetic science, it is extremely easy to determine if one man's genes match the genes of his alleged offspring. Courts now rely heavily on genetic testing to determine with almost absolute certainty who the father of a child is in paternity lawsuits.

In the state of Pennsylvania, most fathers have inalienable parental rights. Even if a particular father has been convicted of a crime in the past and has had problems with the law, he may still be awarded the right to parenting time with his child. Family law courts generally recognize the importance of a child having regular contact with his or her father; therefore, unless the father has had problems with domestic violence, assault and sexual abuse, the court will likely offer the father -- at the very least -- visitation rights. In some circumstances of fathers with prior convictions, the court might only award supervised visitation rights.

At Palange & Endres, PC, we help fathers assert their paternal rights in child custody matters. If you are being denied access to your children, or if you feel that your paternal rights are being denied in any way, we are available to speak with you about your case and offer any advice we can.

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