father holding small babyThis is the next post in my series on handling paternity cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article discussed the importance of establishing paternity as a general matter. Parents must understand that, until parentage is established, a father is not “dad” in the eyes of the law. This means that a father will have no right to visitation with the child. Conversely, the father will also have no obligation to pay child support. An attorney can assist you with beginning the legal process. In this article I will discuss the process of establishing paternity in our state. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a family law lawyer.

Establishing paternity begins by filing a Complaint with the Court

The first step in establishing paternity is to file a Complaint with the Court. This is a document in which the requesting party will request the determination of parentage and will also propose a custody arrangement. The Complaint will be served on the other parent and they will have twenty days to file a response. The requesting party will also typically file a Motion requesting DNA testing as well as the establishment of a temporary order in regard to visitation, support, etc. At the initial hearing, the Court’s first step will be to order DNA testing and to schedule a return hearing. The return hearing will be held after the test results are available. If the test results are negative then, for obvious reasons, the case will end. If the results are positive then the Court will issue a temporary order regarding child support, the father’s visitation with the child, etc.

The nature of the Court’s temporary visitation order will depend on the specifics of the situation. If, for example, the child is a newborn then the Court will be more likely to allow the father immediate overnights and more extensive custody rights. If, on the other hand, the youth is older and has no relationship with the father then the Court will likely put a plan in place which allows for the building of a relationship over time. Again, how a Judge will handle the situation will vary from case to case and it is important that you seek the advice of an attorney to understand how the Court may rule.

The Court will set a trial in order to reach a more permanent custody solution

After the initial hearing, the Court will set a trial date for the final determination of custody and visitation. The Judge will also order the parties to attend mediation. If a settlement is not reached then trial is the point at which a final arrangement is determined. Each side will have the opportunity to conduct discovery prior to trial. This is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a lawsuit. Discovery allows for the taking of sworn testimony, for allowing the other side to answer written questions, and for the acquisition of various records. It is vital that your attorney use this process to build your case or else you may go without needed evidence at trial.

If you or a family member need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas paternity lawyer. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and that you need to immediately move your situation forward. My office is founded on the idea of providing quality service and we look forward to speaking with you. Contact us online or by telephone today.