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How to determine paternity in Virginia

The structure and definition of a traditional family in Virginia and across the country has changed over the last century. Most people thought of a family as being composed of a a married couple of opposite genders and their children. However, today there is a chance that two parents will not be married, often leaving couples wondering how to determine paternity.

When a baby is born to a couple who is married, the paternity is presumed; however, that is not the case when the parents are not married. Fortunately, there are options to voluntarily establish paternity. One option is to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of identity or a similar document in the hospital or anytime afterward.

Unfortunately, there is sometimes conflict regarding paternity. When there is, parents often must go to court to make a determination. For example, if a presumed father denies paternity, the court can order a DNA test which can determine paternity quickly and reliably. If established, the father then becomes obligated to financially support his child.

There are many benefits of establishing paternity. In addition to child support, the child can then be listed on the established father's health insurance, receive an inheritance and be entitled to wrongful death benefits if someone's negligence causes the father's death, among many other benefits. However, some people may be unaware of their options to determine paternity in Virginia. Fortunately, there are professionals with experience with family law who can advise those seeking such action and help them determine the most appropriate course for their individual situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Chronology: Establishing Paternity", Accessed on April 12, 2018

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