While fathers are given equal rights to their children when they are married to the mother when their child is born, the same is not true if the child is born out of wedlock. In this circumstance, only the mother has legal rights over the child, making establishing paternity an important step to ensuring you will have an integral role in your child’s life. Working through the family court system in Rock Hill, SC, as a man can prove difficult – but we’re here to help.
Since 2016, our Rock Hill paternity lawyer has provided dedicated legal service to South Carolina residents. We can help you establish paternity and assist you with other family law matters. Learn more about how we can help when you contact Minor Law Divorce Lawyers at (803) 504-0971 for your confidential consultation.
How Minor Law Divorce Lawyers Can Help With Your Paternity Case in Rock Hill
The Rock Hill family law attorney from Minor Law Divorce Lawyers helps fathers establish paternity and fights to uphold fathers’ rights. When you hire our firm for your paternity case, you can trust us to:
- Provide you with objective legal evidence
- Explain the legal process of establishing paternity
- Answer any questions and address any concerns you have
- Negotiate an out-of-court resolution when possible
- File appropriate legal documents
- Argue your position in court when necessary
Contact us for a confidential consultation to learn more about what you can expect when pursuing a paternity action in South Carolina.
Paternity Laws in South Carolina
If a child is a product of a marriage, the father has just as many rights as the mother. The spouse is presumed to be the husband, even if he is not biologically related to the child.
Mothers are given sole custody of a child who is born out of wedlock in South Carolina. For a father to have any legal rights to their child, they must take deliberate steps to establish paternity.
If a father establishes paternity, the court can provide visitation or custody rights if doing so is determined to be in the best interest of the child.
If you have a child for whom you would like to establish paternity, contact a Rock Hill paternity lawyer from Minor Law Divorce Lawyers for assistance.
Why Should I Establish Paternity in South Carolina?
Establishing paternity establishes a child’s legal relationship to their child. Absent such action, the father may have no rights related to their child. This means the father will not have the right to be involved in their child’s life or to visit with them. Additionally, the father will not have any of the following rights:
- Having his name on the child’s birth certificate
- Being notified if his child is adopted
- Having a say about important matters related to his child, such as medical treatment, education, or religious upbringing
Even if a father develops a relationship with his child and visits the child, this can be at the mother’s whim if there is no court order. Therefore, if the mother changes her mind, gets into a new relationship, or just wants to be vindictive, the father can be denied visitation.
Establishing legal paternity can also help your child. A father’s involvement with their child has been found to have a positive effect on their child, including:
- Increased self-esteem
- Greater stability
- Stronger connections with their fathers and extended family
- A stronger sense of identity
- Access to important medical information
- More positive health effects
- Access to benefits
- Decreased involvement in high-risk activities
- Greater resources
- Stronger emotional bonds
At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, we believe that children thrive when they have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Let us advocate for you to play a critical role in your child’s life and hire us to represent you in a paternity action.
What Paternity Rights Do I Have in South Carolina?
Absent marriage, you do not have any automatic custody rights in South Carolina if you are a father. Instead, you must first establish legal paternity. Instead, the mother has full custody of any children born out of wedlock. For you to see your child, you will need the mother’s permission, or you will need to establish legal paternity for your child. This also means that your parents and other extended family members do not have any rights to your child, either, until paternity is established.
Does Establishing Paternity Give Me Automatic Custody Rights?
While establishing paternity in South Carolina does not give you automatic custody rights, it is a precursor to you obtaining them. Establishing paternity shows your biological connection to your child and gives you the legal grounds to ask for more rights.
Once you have established paternity, we can help you pursue the next steps to becoming a critical part of your child’s life by filing an action for visitation, shared parenting plans, or child custody.
There are two types of custody in South Carolina: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about your child, such as their education, religious upbringing, and medical decisions. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Both types of custody can be sole, in which one person has the right, or joint, in which both parents have the right.
When making decisions related to visitation or custody, the court considers various factors, such as:
- The ability of the parents to understand and meet the child’s needs
- The parents’ wishes
- The child’s temperament and developmental needs
- The relationship between the child and the parents, the child’s siblings, and the child’s extended family
- The ability of each parent to be actively involved in their child’s life
- The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
- The stability of the child’s residential options
- The actions of the parents to encourage or discourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent
- The disparagement the parent showed for the other parent in front of the child
- Any history of domestic abuse that affects the child
- The mental and physical health of the parents and child
- The child’s cultural and spiritual background
- The child’s preference
- Whether either parent has relocated more than 100 miles from the child in the past year
It is up to the court to determine how to weigh each of these factors.
How Do I Establish Paternity in South Carolina?
There are several ways you can establish paternity in South Carolina. First, you could sign the child’s birth certificate when they are born. Second, you could sign a paternity acknowledgment at the hospital when your child is born. Third, you could establish paternity through a court action. This might involve taking a paternity test to establish your biological connection to the child.
Our legal team can help you establish legal paternity. The mother may agree to paternity or may contest it.
What if Paternity Is Contested in Rock Hill, SC?
It is not uncommon for parents to disagree about what is best for their children. In some cases, mothers simply decide they do not want the father to be involved in their child’s life. They may be unreasonable and refuse to allow you to have access to your child.
In these cases, you may need to take legal action to preserve your legal rights. A successful paternity action can allow you to be involved in your child’s life even if the mother is resistant to this possibility. However, to win your paternity case and advance a case for additional rights, you will need to know how to present evidence, understand South Carolina’s paternity and custody laws, and make solid legal arguments to advance your position. Our skilled lawyer can help you with these types of cases.
Does Establishing Paternity Require I Pay Child Support?
After you establish paternity, the court may enter a child support order to help provide financial stability for your child. The court considers several factors when awarding child support, including:
- The income of both parents
- The type of child custody that is ordered
- The number of children for which the order applies
- Other children the parents are supporting
- Any court orders for child or spousal support
It is important to note that the mother of your child can still pursue child support even if you do not take legal action to establish paternity. Additionally, paying child support does not automatically give you custodial rights, as the two cases are generally treated separately.
Other Family Law Legal Services We Offer
In addition to paternity actions, Minor Law Divorce Lawyers provides legal assistance with the following types of family law cases:
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
- Child support
- Contempt actions
- Modifications of family law orders
- Legal separation
Let us help you navigate these complex legal matters. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.
Contact Our Experienced Rock Hill Paternity Lawyer
The Rock Hill paternity attorney from Minor Law Divorce Lawyers helps fathers establish paternity and fights to uphold fathers’ rights. We believe wholeheartedly that fathers can serve an integral role in their children’s lives, and children are better served with meaningful involvement with their fathers.
We offer reasonable and transparent fees. We can explain your legal rights and options when you contact us for a confidential consultation. Contact us today to get started.