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In general, Nebraska courts maintain that a child benefits from a close relationship with both parents, unless a parent is otherwise unfit or harmful to a child’s best interests. That does not mean, however, that a father has automatic legal custody rights and visitation with their child.
If the mother and father are not married, the father must pursue legal action to establish his paternity rights as a father, even if he is listed on the child’s birth certificate. Likewise, if a father does not recognize a child as his biological child and the parties are not married, the mother must pursue legal action to establish the father’s paternity.
The attorneys of Berkshire & Burmeister assist mothers and fathers in establishing paternity in Nebraska when legal paternity is in dispute. Our legal team understands the sensitive nature of this family law matter and strives to be as compassionate and supportive as possible throughout the process of establishing paternity in Nebraska.
In Nebraska, it is presumed that a legally wed husband is the biological father of a child born during the marriage. If paternity is contested, however, a parent needs to petition the court for a DNA test to prove that the child is not the husband’s biological child.
If the child’s parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth, the parents can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Parents can also marry after the child’s birth and add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate by signing and filing the correct forms.
If the parties were not married and paternity is contested, the court can order genetic testing to determine paternity upon request by either the mother or the child’s presumed father. Genetic testing involves taking a DNA sample from the mother, father, and child to compare. Typically, DNA testing is considered very reliable in paternity cases, which is why many courts rely on genetic testing when paternity is disputed.
It is important to note that if you are seeking to establish paternity in Nebraska, you must file your Complaint with the court within four years of the child’s birth.
If a father does not establish paternity, he has no legal right to the child. He cannot enforce visitation or seek custodial rights. He does not have any legal right to make important decisions regarding his child, such as decisions related to his child’s education, religious upbringing, health care, living situation, or extracurricular activities.
A mother who has not established the father’s paternity cannot seek child support or other support from the father. The child is not entitled to receive health care benefits, disability benefits, veteran’s benefits, or inheritance rights unless paternity is established. Therefore, it greatly benefits all parties to have paternity established, even if custody and timesharing may be an issue that must be addressed by the court at a later date.
Establishing paternity provides many benefits for a child and the parents. However, the process of determining paternity may not be easy. If you have questions about paternity laws in Nebraska, contact the Law Firm of Berkshire & Burmeister by calling 402-827-7000 to speak with one of our experienced paternity lawyers.