Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Portland Oregon Divorce Lawyer - Establishing Paternity

Establishing Paternity in Oregon

Paternity suits in Oregon are a common means of obtaining either child support from an unwilling parent or for establishing parenting time rights for a noncustodial parent of a child born out-of-wedlock.  The process is properly known as a "filiation proceeding" and is governed by Oregon statutes 109.124 through 109.237.  The State of Oregon sometimes helps parents collect child support from another parent through administrative proceedings outlined in Oregon Statutes 416.400 through 416.465.  Although paternity is not a part of divorce, a Portland divorce lawyer can assist in establishing or de-establishing paternity as part of a general family law practice.  This article provides some of the basics regarding paternity, but is by no means exhaustive on the subject.

Under 109.125, a mother, a guardian, the administrator of the Division of Child Support, a man claiming to be the father, or a minor child through a guardian ad litem may bring a paternity suit.  One caveat to this rule, however, is that a man is presumed under the law to be the father of a child if was married to the mother at the time of birth and remains married to her).  This means that a man claiming to be the father of a child cannot sue for paternity if the mother is married to another man.  This is applicable in situations where one man claims to be the father because of having an affair with the mother.  Also, a child loses standing to bring a paternity suit once he or she reaches the age of majority.

Although a paternity suit may be filed before the birth of a child, it cannot typically be resolved through litigation until after the child is born, due to the inherent evidentiary problems.  However, a Portland divorce attorney might tell you that this tactic is often used in situations where a man claiming to be the father wishes to initiate proceedings and serve notice of the proceeding with the Center for Health Statistics early, where he fears that the child might be put up for adoption.  This can help insure that the potential father preserves any rights to child custody he might have before the child is given up for adoption.

Proving a paternity case can be a daunting task, considering it helps to have an understanding of Oregon civil procedure, Oregon evidence rules, and the laws of Oregon.  It is therefore advisable to talk to a divorce attorney Portland Oregon practitioner if you wish to bring a paternity suit (or need to defend against one).  Many attorneys provide free consultations and can evaluate your case and inform you of their fees at little or no cost.