Paternity Issues in Custody

We have represented parents with paternity questions and the experience can be very emotional for everyone involved, especially the psychological trauma of separating a meaningful, healthy parent-child relationship at risk of being reduced or terminated. Below are a few considerations:

Legal action for paternity can be filed with the Family Court at almost any time. Paternity is determined by the courts in large part by a genetic DNA test, with a probability rate of 99%.

In Nevada, there is what’s called, “presumption of the law” that the male in the relationship is the biological father, if one of the following is true:

1. The mother and father are married.

2. The unwed mother and partner were living together for at least 6 months before or during the time of conception.

According to the legal definition presumption is, “A conclusion as to the existence or nonexistence of a fact that a judge or jury must draw when certain evidence has been introduced and admitted as true in a lawsuit but that can be contradicted by evidence to the contrary.

A rebuttable presumption can be overturned only if the evidence contradicting it is true and if a reasonable person of average intelligence could logically conclude from the evidence that the presumption is no longer valid. For example, a person who is presumed to be the father based on particular legal evidence will be named the biological father, unless there is sufficient proof, usually in the form of a DNA test, that the person is or is not the biological father.

An unwed mother of a child assumes primary custody, unless or until a finding by the court for paternity or a custody order has been adjudicated. In addition, if there is a case of abandonment of a child by the biological mother for more than 2 months without contact while the “father” has provided sole care of the child, the custody will be awarded to the father, if there are no legal actions during that time period.

Once the court establishes paternity and custody arrangements, the same Nevada laws between married parents will apply in this instance when determining child custody, visitation and financial obligations for the child.

If you have any questions regarding paternity, please contact our legal experts.