Establishing paternity is essential for single fathers: it grants rights such as visitation and the ability to prevent the child’s mother from relocating. Unfortunately, until paternity is established through court proceedings, fathers have limited rights.
Here’s what you need to know in order to establish paternity in Arkansas.
Legal Custody & Paternity in Arkansas
Under Arkansas law, when a child is born to an unmarried woman, legal custody of the child automatically lies with the mother until the child reaches the age of 18. However, a court of competent jurisdiction can intervene and place the child in the custody of another party if deemed necessary.
How to Establish Paternity
To assert his rights, a father must file a paternity suit. Paternity suits are not limited to fathers alone: they are also open to the biological mother, putative (probable) father, the parent or grandparent of a deceased putative father, or child support enforcement.
In cases where the mother initiates the paternity suit, the father can resolve the matter by signing an acknowledgement of paternity. A father can rescind this acknowledgement within 60 days or before the court date (whichever comes first).
In cases where doubt exists about the father’s identity, either party can request a paternity test. A provision of Arkansas law ensures that a party, including the putative father, has the right to request a scientific paternity test to determine biological parentage. By obtaining a court order, a paternity test can be conducted to ascertain whether a genetic relationship exists between the alleged father and the child.
Rights & Responsibilities After Establishing Paternity
Once paternity has been legally established, the father assumes certain rights and responsibilities. These include paying child support and regular visitation. Additionally, the father can pursue custody of the child, but he must demonstrate that he is a fit parent who is able to provide for the child’s well-being.
Ultimately, the court will determine custody based on Arkansas law, the best interest of the child, and the individual facts and circumstances.
Contact Milligan Law Offices for Help with Establishing Paternity in Arkansas
Understanding how to establish paternity is essential for fathers seeking to assert their rights and responsibilities within a legal framework. Consulting with experienced legal professionals is highly recommended to ensure that all aspects of the process are handled appropriately and to safeguard the rights of both the father and the child.
Milligan Law Offices can help you right away in these circumstances and more. Our team can provide the necessary assistance to effectively navigate through the legal proceedings. Get in touch for an initial consultation by calling us at (479) 783-2213 or by contacting us online.