04 Oct Establishing Paternity in South Carolina
Establishing paternity over a child gives the father legal, social and economic rights to his child. The father of a child who has established his paternity over the child is entitled by law, barring extraordinary circumstances, to have the right to a full parent-child relationship. The child also gains the benefit of inheriting from his or her father, rights to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits, Social Security and other benefits like veteran’s benefits. Fathers who fail to establish paternity in South Carolina may miss out on having a relationship with their child, and the child may suffer by missing out on the financial, emotional and psychological support that a father can provide.
South Carolina recognizes many different ways to establish yourself as the father of a child:
Establishing Paternity: Declaring Yourself the Father
A Paternity Acknowledgement Affidavit form may be signed by both parents asserting that a specific man is the father of the child. When a child is born to an unwed couple, typically the hospital at which the birth is taking place presents the parents with a form and assists them in completing and filing it with the proper South Carolina agency. Once this process is complete, the father on the form has established his paternity.
Establishing Paternity: Presumed To Be the Father
Under South Carolina law, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child when:
- The man and child’s mother are married to each other and the child is born during their marriage or separation
- The man and child’s mother are married to each other and the child is born within 280 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, divorce, or dissolution
- The man and the child’s mother attempted, before the child’s birth, to marry each other by legal means but the marriage could be or was declared invalid for whatever reason
Multiple men may be presumed the father depending on the circumstances of when the child was born and the marriage situation of the mother. When this happens, the South Carolina Department of Child Support Services Division will make every effort to notify all potential fathers of the situation.
Proving You Are the Father: Paternity Test
Any man claiming to be the father of a child may assert his right in court to establish his paternity in South Carolina through genetic testing. Similarly, a mother can seek to force a suspected father of a child to undergo genetic testing to establish paternity.
Get Help From A South Carolina Family Law Attorney
If you are seeking to establish child custody or to gain child support from a suspected father, establishing paternity is one of the most important steps to take. The attorneys at Klok Family Law, LLC can help with that. Our years of legal experience working within the South Carolina family law system make us a great resource to have no matter what your family law issue may entail.
Contact us today for help with your case.