Experienced New Orleans Paternity Lawyer
Matters of paternity can quickly grow into contentious disputes between Potential parents. It is easy to get caught up in “he said, she said” arguments that lose sight of the main concern at hand – establishing the paternity of a child. At the New Orleans, Kenner, and Gretna Louisiana, our paternity lawyer helps our clients put aside their relationship issues and focus on the well-being of the child caught in the middle of it all. Our paternity lawyer represents both men and women with concerns over the paternity of a child.
With more than 26 years of experience working with paternity cases, our lawyers recognize the sensitivity of these cases, understanding the complexities that paternity of children can present. Let us help you resolve your concerns and keep your life moving forward. Contact paternity lawyer Stephen Rue to arrange an initial consultation.
Paternity Actions for Mothers
Our paternity lawyers can help parties determine the true biological relationship between parties. This can include aiding you in securing DNA testing. After determining the proper paternity of children, we can assist you in modifying or changing the child’s birth certificate.
After a man has been legally determined the father of your child, we can assist you in seeking child support payments and establishing child custody and visitation arrangements.
Our paternity lawyer represents both men and women with concerns over the paternity of a child.
Paternity Representation for Fathers
We can also assist fathers to judicially determine their biological relationship to children. If you feel you are the biological father of a child but have not been a part of the child’s life, we can assist you in determining your relationship with the child and seeking custody, visitation or parenting time with your child.
Conversely, if you find yourself named in a paternity action but do not believe you are the child’s biological father, we can help you protect your rights. Our attorneys can assist you in setting up DNA testing to prove you are not a child’s father and assist you in avoiding paying child support for a child which is not yours.
The following is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Family Law Attorney Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.
A prerequisite to the establishment of child custody or support is the determination of paternity and maternity. In most cases, the matter is not disputed and both parents have their names on the child’s birth certificate. However, in a growing number of cases, the paternity of the child is in dispute. The majority of the time, the biological mother is trying to prove that a certain man is the biological father of a child. In other instances, the presumed father is in doubt of his paternity because of reservations about the mother’s fidelity. Regardless of the reason, the matter may come into dispute. When it does, the Louisiana legislature and courts have created a body of law and testing procedures to deal with these concerns.
2. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE WHEN ESTABLISHING OR DISAVOWING PATERNITY
Whether you wish to establish or disavow paternity, the time allowed to bring the matter before a court is passing (it may have already passed). Immediately seek your attorney’s assistance if paternity or maternity is at issue.
3. LOUISIANA CLASSIFICATIONS OF CHILDREN
In Louisiana, children are either legitimate or illegitimate. (LCC Art. 178) Legitimate children are those who are either born or conceived during marriage or who have been legitimated as provided hereafter. (LCC Art. 179) Illegitimate children are those who are conceived and born out of marriage. (LCC Art. 180) The classification of illegitimate children may be changed to legitimate through legal proceedings. (LRS Art. 9: 46 and 9:391)
4. LOUISIANA’S LAWS OF PRESUMPTION
Most states, including Louisiana, have enacted laws that provide that if a couple is married during the conception or birth of a child, then the couple is “presumed” to be the biological parents of the child. Since the chief goal of these laws is to establish paternity, Louisiana addresses this issue in terms of the “husband” being the “father” of the child. The Louisiana law provides a “rebut table presumption” in which the parent can go to court, within a limited time period, and attempt to prove that he is not the parent of the child.
Other states have a more narrow stance on paternity/maternity. These state laws provide that if a couple is married during the conception or birth of a child, then it is “conclusive” that the couple are the parents of the child.
Whether “rebut table presumptions” or “conclusive presumptions” exist, the states have taken the parental policy of making it difficult to make a child illegitimate.
In Louisiana, if a couple is not married, no presumption regarding paternity is applicable.
5. THE HUSBAND IS PRESUMED TO BE THE FATHER; THE PRESUMPTION IS REBUTTABLE
LA-C.C. Art. 184. Maternity
Maternity may be established by a preponderance of the evidence that the child was born of a particular woman, except as otherwise provided by law.
Amended by Acts 1976, No. 430, §1; Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005; Acts 2009, No. 3, §3, eff. June 9, 2009.
A child born less than three hundred days after the dissolution of the marriage is presumed to have been conceived during the marriage. A child born three hundred days or more after the dissolution of the marriage is not presumed to be the child of the husband. (LCC Art. 185)
LA-C.C. Art. 185 . Presumption of paternity of husband
The husband of the mother is presumed to be the father of a child born during the marriage or within three hundred days from the date of the termination of the marriage.
Amended by Acts 1976, No. 430, §1; Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005; Acts 2009, No. 3, §3, eff. June 9, 2009.
The husband of the mother is not presumed to be the father of the child if another man is presumed to be the father. (LCC Art. 186)
LA-C.C. Art. 186 Presumption if child is born after divorce or after death of husband; effect of disavowal
If a child is born within three hundred days from the day of the termination of a marriage and his mother has married again before his birth, the first husband is presumed to be the father.
If the first husband, or his successor, obtains a judgment of disavowal of paternity of the child, the second husband is presumed to be the father. The second husband, or his successor, may disavow paternity if he institutes a disavowal action within a peremptive period of one year from the day that the judgment of disavowal obtained by the first husband is final and definitive.
Amended by Acts 1976, No. 430, §1; Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005.
6. A MOTHER’S PROOF OF PATERNITY
1. Time Period to Establish Paternity (LCC Art. 193)
2. A judgment shall not be rendered decreeing that the former husband is not the father of the child unless the judgment also decrees that the present husband is the father of the child. (LCC Art. 194)
Presumption by marriage and acknowledgment; child not filiated to another man; proof; time period
A man who marries the mother of a child not filiated to another man and who, with the concurrence of the mother, acknowledges the child by authentic act or by signing the birth certificate is presumed to be the father of that child.
The husband may disavow paternity of the child as provided in Article 187.
The action for disavowal is subject to a peremptive period of one hundred eighty days. This peremptive period commences to run from the day of the marriage or the acknowledgment, whichever occurs later.
Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005; Acts 2009, No. 3, §3, eff. June 9, 2009.
(LCC Art. 195)
4.Formal acknowledgment; presumption
A man may, by authentic act or by signing the birth certificate, acknowledge a child not filiated to another man. The acknowledgment creates a presumption that the man who acknowledges the child is the father. The presumption can be invoked only on behalf of the child. Except as otherwise provided in custody, visitation, and child support cases, the acknowledgment does not create a presumption in favor of the man who acknowledges the child.
Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005; Acts 2006, No. 344, §1, eff. June 13, 2006; Acts 2009, No. 3, §3, eff. June 9, 2009.
(LCC Art. 196)
5. Child’s action to establish paternity; proof; time period
A child may institute an action to prove paternity even though he is presumed to be the child of another man. If the action is instituted after the death of the alleged father, a child shall prove paternity by clear and convincing evidence.
For purposes of succession only, this action is subject to a peremptive period of one year. This peremptive period commences to run from the day of the death of the alleged father.
Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005. (LCC Art. 197)
Art. 198. Father’s action to establish paternity; time period
A man may institute an action to establish his paternity of a child at any time except as provided in this Article. The action is strictly personal.
If the child is presumed to be the child of another man, the action shall be instituted within one year from the day of the birth of the child. Nevertheless, if the mother in bad faith deceived the father of the child regarding his paternity, the action shall be instituted within one year from the day the father knew or should have known of his paternity, or within ten years from the day of the birth of the child, whichever first occurs.
In all cases, the action shall be instituted no later than one year from the day of the death of the child.
The time periods in this Article are peremptive.
Amended by Acts 1944, No. 50; Acts 1948, No. 482, §1; Acts 1979, No. 607, §1; Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005.
7. GENETIC TESTING (DNA) IS THE
MOTHER OF ALL PROOF
LA-R.S. 9:394 Evidence of hospital bills and tests in paternity action
In an action to establish paternity, originals or certified copies of bills for pregnancy, childbirth, and genetic testing shall be admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule and shall be prima facie evidence that the amounts reflected on the bills were incurred for such services or testing on behalf of the child. Extrinsic evidence of authenticity of the bills, or their duplicates, as a condition precedent to admissibility shall not be required.
Science has advanced to a point where most of the guess work is taken out of a paternity dispute. Genetic DNA testing has become the norm for disputed paternity cases. Each state has established a “threshold” (percentage requirement) for genetic test results in which a rebuttable or conclusive presumption of paternity is created if the probability of paternity is equal to or greater than a threshold percentage (i.e., alleged father’s probability of being the child’s biological father is a 99% likelihood according to DNA test results).
DNA testing can be accomplished as early as nine to ten weeks of pregnancy. Tests can be taken of the fetus through chronic villis sampling (CVS). Although rarely used, this technique is available and may be valuable in assisting your attorney in seeking the establishment of paternity at the earliest time allowed by state law.
8. APPOINTMENT OF AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT THE CHILD’S INTEREST IN AN ACTION TO DISAVOW PATERNITY
In any action to disavow paternity, the judge shall appoint an attorney to represent the child whose status is at issue, and the attorney so appointed shall not represent any other party in the litigation. (LCC Art. 5091.1)
9. A MAN’S ACTION TO DISAVOW
LCC Art. 187. Disavowal action; proof
The husband may disavow paternity of the child by clear and convincing evidence that he is not the father. The testimony of the husband shall be corroborated by other evidence.
Amended by Acts 1976, No. 430, §1; Acts 1989, No. 790, §1; Acts 2005, No. 192, §1, eff. June 29, 2005.
10. EVIDENCE OFTEN USED TO DISAVOW PATERNITY:
1. Negative blood tests.
2. Unmatched DNA results.
4. Physical impossibility because of location during the time of conception.
5. Any other scientific or medical evidence which the court may deem relevant under the circumstances.
A husband may loose his right to disavow paternity. A man who marries a pregnant woman and who knows that she is pregnant at the time of the marriage cannot disavow the paternity of such child born of such pregnancy. However, if the woman has acted in bad faith and has made a false claim of fatherhood to the marrying spouse, he may disavow paternity provided that he proves such bad faith on the part of the mother, and he proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the child is not his. If another man is presumed to be the father, however, then the provisions of Article 186 apply. The husband also cannot disavow paternity of a child born as the result of artificial insemination of the mother to which he consented. (LCC Art. 188)
11. THERE IS A TIME LIMIT FOR A HUSBAND TO DISAVOW
One may file a lawsuit to disavow paternity which must be filed within one year after the husband learned or should have learned of the birth of the child; but, if the husband for reasons beyond his control is not able to file suit timely, then the time for filing suit shall be suspended during the period of such inability. Nevertheless, the suit may be filed within one year from the date the husband is notified in writing that a party in interest has asserted that the husband is the father of the child, if the husband lived continuously separate and apart from the mother during the three hundred days immediately preceding the birth of the child. (LCC Art. 189)
Be sure to ask your attorney about time limitations to disavow a child as laws do
12. LYING UNDER OATH IN A PATERNITY CASE
Whoever intentionally falsely swears in a paternity case may be may be fined up to five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for up to six months, or both. (LRS Art. 9:125.1)
13. TIME LIMIT TO DISAVOW AND TIME TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY
States have established narrow time limits (usually less than one year from birth) for a father to attempt to legally disavow a child. Again, the policy is intended to prevent the child from becoming legally illegitimate, regardless as to whether the husband is the father. On the other hand, states have established much broader time frames to allow the establishment of paternity. In many states, after a child reaches the “age of majority,” he has another one to five years to seek the establishment of paternity.
The above is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Family Law Attorney Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.
To schedule a CONSULTATION with Family Law Attorney STEPHEN RUE, contact us at StephenRue@me.com or call (24 hours a day/night). 504-529-5000.
Se habla español 504-443-2000.
Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm serves the entire state of Louisiana. Our Louisiana lawyers routinely represent clients regarding legal matters in New Orleans, Gretna, Kenner, Metairie, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, Westwego, Harvey, Algiers, Harahan, River Ridge, Destrehan, Hahnville, Boutte, Houma, Belle Chasse, Lafitte, LaPlace, Chalmette, Westbank, Eastbank, Causeway Bridge, I-10, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish and other areas of Louisiana.
Please contact our Louisiana divorce attorneys at StephenRue@me.com or call (24 hours a day/night). 504-529-5000.