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The question of paternity is not always an easy one

Before medical testing, such as DNA testing, men relied almost exclusively on the mother of a child to tell them whether they were her baby's father. Even today, many unmarried men here in Louisiana believe that they are the fathers of children based on their trust in the mother. However, the question of paternity is not always an easy one, and if a man discovers that he might not be the father, he will need to take legal steps in order to have his name removed from the birth certificate if he is already identified as the biological father.

Here in Louisiana, when a child is born to unmarried parents, an Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit can be filled out and filed with the infant's birth certificate. Being listed on a child's birth certificate as the father could provide a man with child custody rights and child support obligations. If there is any doubt in a man's mind that he is the father of the child, he should pursue the matter before becoming legally obligated to the child.

If a man is already listed as the father on a birth certificate and then receives information that makes him doubt paternity, DNA testing should be done. If it turns out that he is not the father, legal steps need to be taken in order to remove him from the birth certificate and free him from any legal obligation to the child. If this is done within 60 days of the date the Acknowledgment of Paternity was executed, a Revocation of Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit can be filed.

However, the reality is that life rarely falls within statutory time lines. If a man discovers that he might not be the father of a child, and the 60-day deadline has passed, there are still options. Discussing the matter with an attorney who deals with paternity law would be beneficial.

Source: new.dhh.louisiana.gov, "Paternity Information", Accessed on Nov. 28, 2016

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