Establishing paternity (fatherhood) in Nevada is in most cases as simple as listing the biological father on the birth certificate. All you must do as a father, in most cases, is show up at the hospital and be listed as the natural father of your child. Nobody will question this as long as the mother acknowledges you as the father at the time of the signing of the birth certificate.
However, in the cases where the biological father is not at the hospital at the time of the signing of the birth certificate, establishing paternity in Nevada can get much more complicated. Nevada law outlines different criteria that will establish legal paternity at the signing of the birth certificate, as well as how a father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity.
But what happens when the mother refuses to acknowledge the paternity of the biological father in an attempt to deny custody? Or if the biological father refuses to accept paternity so he can deny a child support obligation? In these situations, the matter of paternity will likely end up in family court. Before we delve into that, first let’s look at paternity as defined by Nevada law.
How Paternity is Presumed and Acknowledged in Nevada
While in most cases, establishing paternity in Nevada means that you must be at the signing of the birth certificate acting as the father shortly after the birth of the child in question. As long as the mother acknowledges you as the natural father, and you sign, you will be listed as the biological father on the birth certificate. However, there are certain criteria that “should” be proven in order for this to happen. Often these questions will be asked on paperwork for the birth certificate.
Nevada Revised Statute Chapter 126.051, states that a man is presumed to be the natural father if:
- If he and the mother of the child are married when the child is born, or if the child is born no later than 285 days after the marriage had been terminated.
- A man will be presumed to be the natural father if he and the mother were living together for at least 6 months before conception and were living together throughout the period of conception.
- Also, a man will be presumed to be the father if before the child is born, he and the mother tried to marry each other but it was considered invalid for legal reasons.
It is also possible in Nevada for paternity to be acknowledged voluntarily. In order for this to happen a legal document called an “Acknowledgement of Paternity or Parentage” must be drafted in by the Nevada State Board of Health and signed by both the mother and the now acknowledged father.
If after signing this acknowledgement, if new evidence comes to light, such as a DNA test, the acknowledged father can rescind the acknowledgement if:
- It is within 60 days after the acknowledgement has been signed by both persons, or:
- It is rescinded before a custody or paternity case begins relating to the child, as long as the person is a part of that proceeding.
A Petition to Establish Paternity and Custody
If a biological father is not listed on the birth certificate or has been presumed or acknowledged to be the father by law and wishes to be in the child’s life as a parent, or a mother seeks an order for child support, a Petition to Establish Paternity, Custody, Child Support and Other Relief must be filed.
There are many situations that would call for this petition to be filed. Here at Justice Law Center, our custody lawyers have seen many situations where the mother did not inform the father that the child was even born, as well as the mother denying the fact that the father is the biological father. There are also situations where a man has denied the fact that he was the father, and it was in fact the mother that would file the petition so that she can receive support for the child.
The party that files the petition, be it the mother or the father will be named the petitioner in the case, and the receiving party will be named the respondent. Then, the case will open, and the respondent will have an opportunity to either oppose or accept the petition. If the respondent then neither opposes nor responds to the petition withing a certain time frame, the petitioner can ask the court to grant the petition by default.
If the respondent opposes the petition, the case will then be considered contested, and it will proceed very much like a contested Nevada custody case. The other difference will be that a part of the subject matter of the case will be establishing paternity. Normally the establishment of paternity is through a DNA test, with the results submitted to the judge.
Justice Law Center for Establishing Paternity in Nevada
If you are involved in a paternity case in Nevada, or are looking to file one, you will need an experienced family law attorney on your side. Even the slightest error or misstep in the case can cost you your relationship with your child. After a judge issues a final order regarding custody and paternity, getting the ruling overturned is difficult to say the least.
Our team of custody lawyers have been fighting for the rights of Nevada parents for over 25 years. We care about our clients and their families and will fight for you and yours. We offer free consultations so just sitting down with one of our family lawyers comes to no risk to you.
Call us today.
Josh is writer and paralegal, with over 10 years of experience in family law, personal injury, criminal defense and more.