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Paternity, rights and responsibilities

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2021 | Family Law, Paternity |

Child custody and child support issues often come up in the context of divorce, but they can also involve parents who were never married. Nevada law recognizes that parents have legal rights and responsibilities with regard to their children regardless of whether the parents were ever married.

These rights typically include rights to visitation and custody. The responsibilities typically include child support obligations.

Determining paternity

When a child is born to a married woman and man, the man is presumed to be the father. When the parents are not married, paternity must be established by other means.

If the parents agree, they can sign a declaration of paternity. Otherwise, paternity is established through a DNA test. The test can be ordered by a judge if either parent files a petition to establish paternity. A paternity test can also be requested by the District Attorney Family Support Division.

Custody and support

Once paternity has been established, both parents have rights and responsibilities toward their child. From a legal perspective, the rights fall under the category of child custody, even if the child lives with only one parent full-time. Even a noncustodial parent typically has a right to visit their child. Child custody rights can also include the right to help make important decisions about the child’s upbringing.

While parents can usually negotiate child custody, child support is something else. Both parents have a responsibility to feed, house, clothe and otherwise take care of their child. The state presumes that a parent who lives with the child full-time is doing this, but the noncustodial parent must make regular payments to help pay for the child’s needs. The court determines the exact amount they must pay based upon factors such as the parent’s financial resources and the child’s needs.

Paternity, child custody and child support are complicated subjects, and they can be quite emotional subjects as well. When dealing with these subjects, it is important to remember that the child’s best interests should be first and foremost in everyone’s mind. Parents can speak to a skilled family law attorney about their rights and responsibilities.