father and son

Dear SJP: “Am I The Father?” & Penalties for Missed Visits With Your Kids

At Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, we often receive questions in our inboxes about unique family law matters. We took two of our most pressing questions and answered them for you.

Dear SJP: My girlfriend just had a baby, and we think he’s my son. How do I figure out if I’m the father?

One of the first things you need to do is contact an experienced paternity attorney to help you navigate your case. Since you are not married to your girlfriend, you need to establish paternity for the child. There are multiple ways in which you can establish paternity, but you will most likely need to complete a DNA test to prove a genetic link to the child, or you and your girlfriend can sign a “recognition of parentage” document to claim paternity if you are not willing to submit to a DNA test.

It is essential to have a paternity lawyer to guide you in this process, as paternity cases can sometimes be complex. Until paternity is proven, your girlfriend will have sole physical and legal custody of the child. Since you will not have any legal claim on the child, you will not have a right to visitation or the ability to make decisions about your child if you and your girlfriend break up.

Dear SJP: I’ve been really busy and it’s getting hard to fit in visitation with my kids. What happens if I miss one or two scheduled meetings?

Visitation appointments are not only necessary legally, but they’re also important to your children! They may feel disappointed if you miss your scheduled visitation, as that is their time to see you, their parent!

You do have the option to reschedule your visitation with their other parent to another time that works better for both you and your children. Still, if you miss too many of your appointments, it might become a legal problem where the courts can penalize you. If you simply don’t have the time to fit in your visitation, you might need to go through the steps to legally change your visitation amounts and modify your child custody arrangements to less parenting time. For this, you will need a knowledgeable family attorney who can help you motion for this modification. But before you try anything legally, you should try and reschedule anything in your personal life causing you to miss your parenting time with your children.

Do You Have A Question About A Family Law Matter?

If you have questions about your family law matter, call us at (888) 224-1218 today to schedule a free consultation! The skilled divorce attorneys at Sherwood, Johnson & Poles are ready to consult on all of your family law needs.