FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-17
In Nevada, paternity (legal fatherhood) can be established in a number of different ways depending on the circumstances.
If a mother is married at the time of birth, Nevada state law presumes her husband to be the child’s father. Similarly, if a mother has become divorced or widowed within 10 months prior to giving birth, the law presumes that her husband at the time of conception is the father of the child.
In either of these scenarios, the legal presumption of paternity can be overcome with a court order identifying someone other than the husband as the father. If the mother’s husband gives his written consent, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity can also overcome the husband’s presumption of paternity.
Paternity of Children Born to Unmarried Parents
If a mother is unmarried at the time of birth and has not recently become divorced or widowed, Nevada law allows paternity to be established in one of two ways:
- Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and file it with the Office of Vital Records
- A judge can make a legal declaration of paternity after a court hearing
Either parent may initiate a paternity case at any time after a child is born and before the child reaches age 21. There are a wide range of reasons for establishing paternity, including personal, legal and financial factors.
For instance, a child’s father may wish to file a paternity claim in order to establish his right to spend time with the child and be involved in the decisions that will affect the child’s life. Under Nevada law, an unmarried mother will automatically receive full legal and primary physical custody of the child until a court order dictates otherwise. In other cases, the child’s mother may wish to initiate a paternity case in order to ensure that the father will help support the child.
While custody and child support issues often arise in the context of a breakup, many unmarried couples seek to establish paternity as a proactive measure to protect the child’s legal rights as well as their own rights as parents. For more information about establishing paternity in Nevada, contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.