Reisinger Booth & Associates, P.C., L.L.O.

How is paternity established in Nebraska?

When a child is born in Nebraska, the mother and father are normally listed on the child's birth certificate. If there is no father listed, how can the father establish paternity?

Nebraska law presumes that when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is the child's father. However, if the baby's parents aren't married, other processes must be followed to determine paternity. Here are the available options:

-- An Acknowledgment of Paternity form can be completed and sent to the Department of Health and Human Services' Vital Records Management. This form can also be completed by order of the court.

-- Genetic testing may be needed if the mother and/or father does not believe the child is his. This may tell who the father is, but court action will still be needed to establish paternity.

Establishing paternity is necessary for the following:

-- To get an order for cash medical support or healthcare coverage

-- To get an order of child support

-- To make sure the child has rights to the father's benefits if he dies, such as Social Security or veteran's benefits or as an heir in a will

While establishing paternity can be fraught with acrimony, a child can benefit from a father's presence in his or her life. If a mother does not want to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form, then DNA may be the only way to determine paternity. If a man believes he is not the father of the child and does not want to be listed as such, then DNA testing may be the only way to determine he is not the father.

When establishing paternity, it is important to remember the responsibilities as well as the rights that come with such actions. An experienced family law attorney can provide you with additional information.

Source: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, "Paternity Establishment" Sep. 26, 2014

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Reisinger Booth & Associates, P.C., L.L.O.

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