How Can I Keep Custody of My Child if Another Man is Discovered to Be the Father?
You would be presumed to be the father under the law if legally married to the mother at the time of birth, however this may be presumption may be challenged in court by the mother or alleged father. In most states, a paternity action takes the form of a civil lawsuit. Only certain persons or parties have legal standing to bring a paternity action, including the mother of the child; the mother of an expected child; a man alleging that he is the biological father of a child; a man alleging that he is the biological father of an expected child; the child; a personal representative of the child; the mother and father of a child (a voluntary action filed together); the mother and father of an expected child (a voluntary action filed together); a state social service agency, interceding in cases of child neglect or need; and a prosecutor's office, interceding in cases of child neglect or need. An action for paternity may be filed by the child. In many states, after a child reaches the "age of majority," he has another one to five years to seek the establishment of paternity. Upon the order of a court, if an action to determine parentage is filed and it is determined that a certain individual is the father of the minor child(ren) and that determination contradicts the child's birth certificate, a new birth certificate will be issued reflecting the father as established in the court order.
A court will not automatically order paternity tests simply because a paternity action has been filed. It will review the petition to determine if there is sufficient information contained therein to warrant or justify the compelling of such a test. If the court orders a paternity test, the mother, child, and alleged father will all be tested at a court-designated facility. A court determination of paternity is final, and a copy of the court's order will be needed to establish the child's rights, both present and future.