This is the next post in my series on the handling of paternity cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you have a child but parentage has not been established. It is important that you speak with counsel promptly as waiting to do so can create a range of legal problems. In this article I will be giving a discussion of why it is important to establish paternity as soon as possible in our state. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a family law lawyer.
Las Vegas fathers will have no rights or obligations until paternity has been established
Nevada is like other states in the country in that the biological father of a child has no rights or obligations unless paternity has been established. This means that the father will have no right to spend time with the child. Also, the father will not have the right to make legal decisions. These can include enrolling the child in school or activities. Furthermore, the dad would not have a right to access the child’s medical records, school records, and could not consent to medical care on the child’s behalf. Conversely, however, the father will have no obligation to pay child support, to contribute money towards medical expenses, etc. The takeaway from these concepts should be that a child essentially only has one parent until the establishment of paternity.
The foregoing concepts are best explained by way of example. Suppose an unwed Las Vegas couple, in which the parties do not live together, have a child and paternity is not established at the time of birth. The mother decides that she does not want the father to have contact with the child, but the dad wishes to see his new son or daughter. Unfortunately, unless the mother allows such conduct, the father will have no rights in the matter. The mother, however, will also have no right to request support, payment for medical expenses, and other such items.
It is important for parents to establish paternity & visitation or Las Vegas Family Court Judges may consider the current situation as the “status quo”
The longer parents wait to establish paternity then the more potential problems they create. On the father’s side of the equation, is the fact that the Court will look at the “status quo” of things when deciding what custody rights, and how much visitation, to award. If, for example, a father waits years before attempting to establish visitation with the child then the Judge would be less likely to award that father joint custody. This is due to the fact that one of the factors considered by the Court, in awarding visitation, is the historical relationship between a parent and the child. By waiting to establish paternity, the father sends a signal to the Court that the child was not a priority.
On the mother’s side of the equation is the fact that waiting to establish paternity can limit the amount of “back child support” which one may request. Nevada law allows for a parent to obtain up to four years of back support after paternity has been established. This, for example, means that a mother who waits five years to establish paternity will be foregoing one year of support.
If you are in need of help then contact me online or by telephone to speak with a Las Vegas paternity lawyer. I understand the importance of family law issues and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. We look forward to being of service.