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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses: The Definition of a Father…Legally Speaking

Written by Amar Weisman » May 27, 2016 »

This year, Father’s Day is on June 19th. For those men who have children, the day is often filled with a number of fun-filled activities, as well as stacks of socks, ties and other gifts. However, for some men in the state of Maryland, a question of paternity may be looming over their heads as the day approaches. That said, any man who has questions or concerns about the paternity of a child in his life is encouraged to speak to a Towson paternity lawyer as soon as possible to gain a full understanding of your legal rights and options.

How Does Maryland Define “Father?”

Quite often, the question of paternity arises between unmarried couples, but at times, the issue can also arise when a couple is married. Paternity is an important matter that should be resolved as quickly as possible for the sake of everyone involved.

Until an individual has been legally declared to be a child’s father, no decisions with respect to child support or visitation can be made. That said, Maryland family courts will make a determination with respect to who the father is in situations where there is a question.

Generally, when unmarried couples have children, the mother will automatically be deemed the full legal custodian who will be responsible for making all the decisions related to the care of the child. The only way this will change is for the man in the relationship to be declared the father so that visitation and support arrangements can be established by the court.

In Maryland, there are two ways for a man to be legally declared a child’s father. The first way is for the man to submit a form that acknowledges paternity (typically referred to as an Affidavit of Parentage). Such forms are normally used at hospitals when the child is born and the alleged father is present.

Still, is important for the man to understand all the legal consequences associated with signing such an acknowledgement -- particularly with respect to his financial responsibility for the child, even if it is later revealed that he is not the child’s biological father.

Short of a written acknowledgement of paternity, a man can be deemed to be the father if he, in an “open and notorious” manner, actually claims the child as his own after the birth; marries the mother after the birth of the child and then claims him or her as his own; or the court legally designates him as the father.

A Note About Presumptive Paternity

In Maryland, if the mother was married when the child was conceived or born, her husband is presumed to be the child’s father, under the law. Still, if the husband denies paternity, he may undergo genetic testing and the courts may get involved. If the results of the test show a likelihood that the alleged father is 97.3 percent or higher the father, a hearing will be set in order to decide paternity.

If you have questions or concerns related to paternity or any other family law issue, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.