Every man who is not married to the mother of his child should establish paternity. The only legal establishment of paternity at birth is in the case of a married couple. The law always presumes the husband to be the father of a baby. Unmarried fathers have no rights to their children until they legally establish paternity.
Having legal rights means that you can ensure you get to be a part of your child’s life and that you have the legal ability to make decisions for your child. It is essential to ensure the court legally names you as the father of the child to protect yourself in the event the mother does not allow any contact with the child. If that happens before you determine paternity, your best option is to file a case with the court.
File with the court
According to the State of Nebraska Judicial Branch, to establish paternity, you will file a petition with the court. You will need to fill out forms for the paternity claim, child support and parenting time, and you will pay a fee to file. As part of the process, you will also have to take a parenting class. During this case, the court will not only determine paternity but if you are the father, it will also set up child support, health insurance, custody and parenting time.
There is a deadline for establishing the paternity of a child. You must do so before the child turns four years old. In some situations, you may have the option to file after that point, but it is not common.