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Who can bring a paternity action in court?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Father's rights & paternity

In Kentucky, just as in other states, the law acknowledges that unwed fathers do not have automatic parental rights and responsibilities and must establish paternity to gain them. However, a common misconception about paternity cases is that only the alleged father can petition to establish paternity in court since the issue primarily involves father’s rights.

In reality, several parties have the right to do so, including the following:

  • The alleged father: A man claiming to be the father of a child can petition to establish paternity to obtain certain rights, such as custody and visitation rights.
  • The mother: A mother may seek to establish paternity to secure child support and ensure the child has access to benefits, such as health insurance.
  • The child: A child, usually through a legal representative, can petition to establish paternity to acquire certain rights, such as inheritance rights and access to the father’s medical history and benefits.
  • Government agency: In some cases, a government agency responsible for child support enforcement can petition to establish paternity for the benefit of the child.

It is important to understand that the purpose of establishing paternity is not only to address the father’s rights but also to protect the rights and well-being of the child. This protection includes knowing the identity of both parents, having a legal relationship with both of them and receiving financial support, if applicable.

Moreover, establishing paternity can provide important medical history information, which is crucial for a child’s health.

How to approach paternity matters

Paternity matters can be overwhelming for all involved parties. In these cases, it is best to address the issue efficiently, thoroughly and discreetly, as much as possible. These are all possible with the guidance of a legal representative knowledgeable about father’s rights and paternity issues.