Maryland Family Attorneys For Father’s Rights And Paternity
No father should ever be forced to surrender their legal rights to fair custody, visitation, and support of their children!
We at JC Law will stand as your champions as you wrangle Maryland’s complicated paternity laws and fight against possible implicit bias of Maryland family judges while asking for your rights as your child’s father.
What Is Paternity, And Why Should I Establish It?
When you establish your child’s paternity, there are multiple benefits. Children need emotional support and guidance from both of their parents. Additionally, a paternity claim might give your child:
- The right to child support
- Eligibility for state and federal benefits, including Social Security and VA benefits
- Employment-based health insurance benefits
- Inheritance rights
- Eligibility for life insurance benefits
- Information about his or her family medical history
- A stronger sense of identity and security
- Spend time with your child
- Make important decisions – including medical care, education, and religion – for your child
- Access your child’s school and medical information
- Object to the legal adoption of your child, if necessary
More importantly, establishing legal paternity ensures and protects your relationship with your child.
How Can I Establish Paternity In Maryland?
Maryland’s paternity laws can get extremely complicated. However, in almost 30 years in serving fathers across the state, we’ve come across some standard situations.
Married Couples And Paternity
During a marriage, a woman’s husband is presumed to be the father of her children. However, sometimes paternity becomes an issue during a divorce or because of infidelity. In these cases, a Maryland family lawyer who understands paternity law can help either dispute or establish paternity rights. Problematically, Maryland’s paternity laws predate same-sex marriage and only discuss husband-and-wife relationships
If you are an LGBT couple, it’s important that you legally establish your parental rights. A family lawyer can guide you through this process, which might involve a second-parent adoption.
Unmarried Couples And Paternity
Unlike those parents who were legally married at the time of the child’s birth, a father unmarried to their child’s mother does not automatically get parental right
Instead, you must either:
- Sign and file an Affidavit of Parenthood with Maryland
- Marry your partner after the child’s birth and acknowledge your paternity either orally or in writing; or
- Undergo a DNA test that establishes your paternity and get a court order.
Sometimes, the Maryland Child Support Administration will become involved in a paternity case involving unmarried partners.
If the mother of a child identifies you as the father, the Child Support Administration can file a complaint against you and get a court order requiring genetic testing.
If you have been served with a Child Support Administration complaint, contact a paternity lawyer immediately. Without assistance from an experienced attorney, you might make costly mistakes and face civil or criminal penalties.
Before you legally acknowledge paternity, you should consult with a paternity lawyer. Remember: Once you establish paternity, you become legally responsible for the child’s care and welfare
What Father’s Rights Are Available In Maryland Once I Establish Legal Paternity?
While subtle bias can impact a judge’s decision, the law should not discriminate against a parent based on his or her gender. A father has the right to:
- “Legal” custody, which is the legal right to participate in important life decisions concerning your child including medical, religious, and academic issues
- “Physical” custody and visitation, which is the legal right to spend time with your child
- Child support, if you have sole or primary physical custody of your child
- Information about your child’s health, education, and welfare. Both federal and Maryland state laws protect your right to important information about your child
During a relationship, these rights are rarely questioned. However, during and after a break-up, fathers frequently must fight for their parental rights. In these situations, a family lawyer experienced in fathers’ rights can help you protect you and your child’s interests.
As My Child’s Father, Do I Always Have To Pay Child Support?
As a parent, you have a legal duty to support your child. When a parent has physical custody of a child, the other parent must pay child support — regardless of their gender.
That means if you have sole physical custody of your child, then your ex must pay you child support, even if they’re the mother. In Maryland, there are child support guidelines that apply in most cases.
The state guidelines consider a series of factors involving you and your ex’s\income and your child’s needs.
If your circumstances change due to a job loss, disability, or other factors, you can also ask the court to modify your child support order.
A family lawyer who understands father’s rights can help make sure the child support order is correct for your family’s situation – no matter who’s paying what.
My Ex Has Threatened To File Domestic Violence Charges Against Me. How Can I Keep My Father’s Rights?
However, it’s in your best interests to remain civil during a family law dispute. Domestic violence can negatively impact your right to custody and visitation. And, you might face serious criminal charges.
If you were involved in a domestic violence incident, contact us immediately. We can help you defend yourself against criminal charges, protect your fathers’ rights, and file any necessary protective orders on your behalf.
What Happens If Someone Disputes Paternity?
Sometimes, there are questions about your child’s paternity. In these cases, you should never sign an Affidavit of Parenthood until a genetic test confirms your biological connection to the child.
However, if you discover information that puts your paternity in question later on, you should contact a Maryland family lawyer immediately.
For example, if you incorrectly signed an Affidavit of Parenthood based on your partner’s misrepresentations – as in, she claimed you were the father of your child and it came to light later that you were not the biological parent – then you are a victim of paternity fraud.
While Maryland does not impose criminal or civil penalties for paternity fraud, you can ask the court to stop your obligation to pay child support.
Whatever the circumstances of a disputed paternity, your lawyer might:
- Rescind or cancel your Affidavit of Parenthood if it was signed within the last 60 days; or
- File a petition with the courts, asking them to rescind your Affidavit of Parenthood, discontinue child support, and/or disestablish paternity.
You must act quickly. Maryland courts are highly skeptical of petitions that are filed years after a child’s birth. In these circumstances, you’ll typically have to show there was fraud, duress, or a significant mistake of fact.
“I thank God I crossed paths with [Florian] Tabaku. He is truly a genuine person and is committed to fight for fathers’ rights!”
Find out what it’s like to work with us.