In Mississippi, if a child is born to a husband and wife, paternity is presumed unless it is proven otherwise in court. However, if the child’s mother is unmarried, Mississippi requires court action to determine the child’s legal father.
If the biological father signs an affidavit on the back of the birth certificate, some people may be surprised to learn that is not sufficient to make him the child’s legal father.
The alleged father, the unmarried mother or the minor child can file to establish paternity, but it must be filed before the child turns 18. The law allows blood tests and genetic tests to determine the probability of paternity.
If the test displays a result indicating the probability of fatherhood is 98 percent or greater, the court can presume paternity. The court will review the petition and the test results. If it determines that the alleged father is the child’s biological and legal father, he may then have additional rights and responsibilities. These include child custody, visitation and child support.
Benefits of paternity
The child benefits when paternity is established because he or she receives financial support from his or her father, the right to inherit and the right to access personal information such as health risks about that parent.
The child may also qualify for dependent-based government assistance in some circumstances and there may also be emotional and psychological benefits to the child from knowing the father’s identity.
It’s important that the paternity process is completed correctly for all of the parties involved. An experienced family law attorney can answer questions about the paternity process and provide representation.