Las Vegas Paternity Lawyer
Experienced Family Law Attorney in Clark County, Nevada
Paternity refers to fatherhood. An action to establish paternity is a court proceeding to determine the legal father of a child. In Nevada, complex state laws govern paternity and paternity matters.
If you face a paternity issue, The Gersten Law Firm can help. Attorney Joseph Gersten has the skill, experience, and compassion to navigate through any paternity matter. There never is a fee for your first consultation.
Why Paternity Matters
Paternity substantially affects the legal rights and obligations of the father and mother of a child, as well as the parents’ ability to enjoy a relationship with the child. For a child, the benefits of paternity include:
- Knowing both parents and having a sense of identity
- Receiving financial support from both parents
- Having the opportunity to spend time with both parents through custody and visitation arrangements
- Receiving financial assistance such as social security, insurance, and veterans’ benefits
- Inheriting from both parents
- Having access to medical information from both parents that can affect the child’s health
For the father of a child, paternity imposes a legal obligation to support the child, as well as the ability to seek visitation and custody rights.
Under Nevada law, there are several ways to establish paternity.
- For a married couple, the law considers the husband to be the child’s father unless a court issues an order to the contrary;
- For a woman divorced or widowed for less than ten (10) months, the law considers the husband at the time of conception to be the child’s father.
For a woman unmarried at the time of conception of birth, paternity can be established if:
- Both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics; or
- A court declares paternity of a child after a hearing or by default.
If a man does not voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child, the mother, child, or an interested party can file a court action asking the court to declare paternity. A Nevada court may also determine paternity as part of an action for divorce, annulment, or child support.
If a person files a paternity action before the birth of the child, the court will place the action on hold until after the birth. The right to file a paternity action exists until the child is twenty-one (21) years of age.
If the mother or another person files a paternity action in court, the judge considers all the evidence and may order genetic testing to determine paternity. The court usually presumes paternity in the following circumstances:
- Genetic testing confirms paternity;
- The couple signed a mutual declaration of paternity;
- The man lives with the child and openly presents the child as his natural child;
- The man lived with the mother for at least six (6) months prior to the child’s birth;
- The man and woman were married or in a registered domestic partnership at the child’s birth;
- The couple’s marriage or domestic partnership ended shortly before the child’s birth;
- The man agreed to be sperm donor and intended to be the child’s father;
- A surrogate gave birth on the man’s behalf under a gestational or surrogacy agreement; or
- The man legally adopted the child.
In a court action, the alleged father can rebut any evidence or presumption of paternity. Sometimes, experts offer opinions on behalf of one or both of the parties to the action.
When Should You Talk With a Paternity Lawyer?
If someone files a paternity action against you, or if a paternity claim arises in a divorce or other action, a court determination that you fathered a child triggers significant legal obligations. Depending on the nature of the action, the court order may require you to pay child support, determine your visitation and custody rights, or address other aspects of your relationship with the child.
A paternity court proceeding includes a pre-trial hearing, a trial before the judge, and a final order from the court. You have the right to appeal the court’s decision within thirty (30) days of the date of the order.
In Clark County, the District Attorney’s Office usually represents the person who files the paternity action. To defend against the claim, you need by an experienced paternity lawyer. Your lawyer can produce evidence to rebut any presumptions that arise and protect your interests regarding requests for court decisions on support, custody, or visitation matters.
Attempting to represent yourself in a paternity action is not a good idea. Paternity laws and court rules and processes are complex. Because you do not have knowledge of applicable laws or familiarity with the court’s rules and processes, you are not likely to defend successfully against the claim without a lawyer.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Paternity Lawyer
If you face a paternity claim in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas paternity attorney Joseph Gersten can help. Attorney Gersten approaches all family law matters with sensitivity and compassion. He understands the difficulty and emotional stress that accompany paternity issues. Most importantly, he aggressively protects your rights and interests.
Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.