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Questions of paternity can be difficult to resolve and often involve people who are totally  unaware of their rights and responsibilities. There is a huge amount of confusion and  misinformation in this area of the law.  The Law Office of Karen L. Vervaecke helps both mothers and potential fathers understand their rights and responsibilities and  resolve paternity disputes.

Establishing paternity is first and foremost in these cases.  If the parties are married, the husband is presumed to be the father. There is no presumption of paternity when the parties are not married. A legal determination of paternity is essential in determining the proper arrangements for custody, visitation  and support.  If you are involved in a paternity dispute, whether as a mother or putative father,  Karen will help you protect your interests and your children.

Cases filed by the State

When a parent or custodian is receiving support from the state, that person is required to provide the name of the father of the child  so the state can seek reimbursement from the father.  In these situations, the alleged father can request a paternity test at the state's expense. An experienced attorney is necessary to protect the interests of the  potential father and ensure that accurate information is used to protect the father’s rights in determining child support, custody and visitation, as well as the child's best interest.

Cases filed privately

Private paternity actions are usually the result of an unmarried couple breaking up after having a child together. If a father denies paternity, a request can be made for paternity testing by either party. Whether a mother is seeking support or a father is seeking custody or visitation rights, the guidelines here are the same as in divorce actions. The best interest of the child or children is paramount. The court will enter a judgment of paternity which provides for visitation, child support and custody just as in a divorce action. Retroactive child support, day care and medical expenses incurred as a result of the child's birth are all addressed. The parties are required to attend parenting classes and to work out a parenting plan.