Children born in wedlock are presumed to be the legitimate child of the mother's husband, and immediately have custodial rights as well as the obligation to financially and emotionally support the child. When children are born out of wedlock, however, the parents must establish paternity through a process called “legitimation” before the father's rights and obligations to the child take effect.
Either parent can ask the court to establish paternity and legitimation. The judge can order both parents and child to submit to a DNA paternity test. If the putative father is determined to be the biological father, the court can grant him custodial rights. Typically, the judge will determine child custody, visitation, and child support at the same time. Schedule a consultation today if you need to establish paternity for your child.