Establishing Paternity in Bergen County New Jersey

Attorney for Paternity Issues in Hackensack, New Jersey

If two parents are married when a child is born, the husband is the presumed father of the child and as such, is listed on the birth certificate. On the other hand, when a child is born to unmarried parents, paternity may be at issue if the identity of the child’s father is in dispute. Paternity can become a legal matter in New Jersey if the father of a child needs to be established or if the stated father contests his biological relationship to a child. If a man is identified as the father of a child, he becomes responsible for sharing in the financial obligations associated with that child. In other words, if a father is established through paternity, he is responsible for child support, regardless of whether or not he has a relationship with the child. There are a myriad of situations in which it is critical to establish a child’s biological father. In some cases, a woman seeks to establish paternity to ensure that the child’s father shares in the financial responsibility of raising the child. In other cases, a man seeks to establish that he is the father of a child in order to secure visitation or shared custody.  If you are on either side of a paternity dispute in New Jersey, the ultimate findings can have significant long-term implications for your life and your child’s future.

At The Elfant Rickett Law Firm in Bergen County, New Jersey, our family law team regularly assists clients with resolving paternity and related matters. Our firm’s founder, Rosa Rickett, is a highly experienced New Jersey family lawyer who has dedicated her career to advocating for clients facing legal challenges associated with their families, including divorce, child custody, child support, and domestic violence. Rosa’s passion for her clients is evidenced by their extreme satisfaction. In fact, she has earned a perfect 5 out of 5 in Client Reviews on, as well as the Client’s Choice Award for several years. If you are on either side of a paternity dispute or seeking to establish paternity in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact us today at 201.968.5700 to discuss your specific situation and learn more about your legal options.

How to Establish Paternity in New Jersey

In New Jersey, paternity is the legal term used to describe the process of determining a child’s father. Paternity can be established voluntarily or through court order for genetic testing. As mentioned above, if the parents were married when the child was born, the husband is the presumed father and is listed on the child’s birth certificate. Conversely, legal paternity must be established for unmarried parents.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If the father of a child wants to establish paternity, they have multiple avenues through which to do so. First, they can sign a Certificate of Parentage (COP) at the hospital immediately after a child is born. Father can also sign the COP by registering with the Registrar of Vital Statistics in their area. Notably, if a mother disputes that a man is the father of her child, this may become a legal matter which needs to be resolved in court.

Court-Ordered Paternity Test

On the other hand, if a father refuses to establish paternity, the court can order him to take a genetic test that will indicate whether or not he is the father of the child. Genetic testing can be requested by either parent or it can be mandated by the court or county office. A genetic test is usually done through saliva sample. If the results show the man is a genetic match at 95 percent or higher, this is considered confirmation of paternity.

Rights and Responsibilites of New Jersey Fathers

The purpose of establishing paternity is manifold. Of course, it can be beneficial for a child to know who his or her father is. Additionally, establishing legal paternity gives the father of a child certain rights and responsibilities. For example, significant decisions involving child custody, visitation, and child support are influenced by paternity determinations. Specifically, if paternity is established, the child is entitled to child support and health insurance through the father’s employer if possible. Also, the child is entitled to certain benefits if the father dies, including any property bequeathed in a will, veteran’s benefits, or Social Security. The child can also benefit from knowing their father’s medical history as they grow older. As for the father, he is entitled to pursue visitation or parenting time with the child. If the mother contests a request for visitation or shared custody, the matter can proceed through the court system. Also, if a father fails to provide support per the child support order, the mother can pursue child support enforcement proceedings.

Contact Englewood NJ Paternity Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

If you are facing a paternity dispute or related matter in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey, The Elfant Rickett Law Firm can help. With offices in Hackensack, we advocate for mothers and fathers in paternity proceedings in Englewood, Garfield, Teaneck, Fort Lee, Paramus, Lodi, Lynhurst, Ramsey, and across the state. To discuss your specific paternity case with an experienced Bergen County family law attorney, contact us today at 201.968.5700 or use our online contact form to begin your conversation.

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The Elfant Rickett Law Firm Serves Clients throughout New Jersey, including in: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County.

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