Paternity Is More Than A DNA Test

In popular culture, paternity has become synonymous with DNA testing. But while a DNA test can prove or disprove a biological relationship between a child and putative father, it does not address the important legal rights and responsibilities of fatherhood. A DNA test, when required, is merely one part of the process.

When And Why Is Paternity Important?

Here in Hawaii, paternity actions may be needed when both of the following conditions apply. First, a child is born to two parents who are not married at the time of birth. Second, the biological father has not participated in a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity by signing an affidavit (asserting that he is the father) within 90 days of his child's birth.

Legally establishing paternity is important for both mothers and fathers. In order for women to seek child support, the paternity of the child must be established. Similarly, unmarried men who wish to seek custody or visitation rights cannot do so until paternity has been established.

Determining paternity can also be important in certain situations involving:

  • A dispute over a child's last name
  • A child's ability to be covered under a parent's medical or dental insurance
  • A child's right to collect a deceased parent's Social Security or disability benefits
  • A child's right to collect wrongful death compensation or other legal damages in cases where the father has passed away

Although there are many reasons to establish paternity, most cases revolve around custody rights for fathers or child support enforcement.

How A Lawyer Can Help

No matter what your reasons for wanting to establish paternity, the process usually begins by filing a paternity petition in family court. An experienced attorney can ensure that all necessary conditions are met. Once paternity is established, your lawyer can then help you pursue other claims such as custody/visitation rights or child support.

Our firm's attorney, Blake T. Okimoto, has more than 40 years of experience in Hawaii family law. Regardless of your goals, our firm can help you pursue them.

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Call Today To Discuss Your Case

Blake T. Okimoto, Attorney at Law, is located in Honolulu and serves clients across the island of Oahu. To discuss your case with one of Hawaii's premier family law attorneys, call us at 808-943-8899 or fill out our online contact form.