Legally speaking, establishing paternity is very important for a number of different reasons. For example, obtaining a paternity determination can help secure financial support for a child, prevent a mother from giving a child up for adoption without the father’s consent, and help a father gain custody and visitation rights to his child. But how is paternity established in Mississippi? The answer to this question is actually a bit complicated as paternity can be established in Mississippi via any of the different avenues discussed below.
The Mississippi Bar’s website notes that when a married woman gives birth to a baby in Mississippi the woman’s husband is legally presumed to be the father of her child, until proven otherwise in court. In fact, this legal presumption applies even if the mother was not married at the time of her child’s birth but was married at the time of conception, or at any point between the child’s conception and their birth. This means that if a married woman in Mississippi gets pregnant from an extramarital affair the law initially recognizes the woman’s husband as the legal father of the child and bestows the legal rights and responsibilities of being a father on him.
Acknowledgement of Paternity
Paternity can also be established in Mississippi if the baby’s mother and father both sign an acknowledgement of paternity form voluntarily acknowledging that the man signing the form is the baby’s father. Doing so carries the same legal effect as the mother and father being married at the child’s conception and birth, and after an acknowledgement of paternity is signed the father’s name can be added to his child’s birth certificate. Parents can choose to sign this form while their baby is still in the hospital or at a later date. However, it should be noted that under some circumstances a father can rescind his acknowledgement of paternity.
Complaint for Establishing Paternity
Additionally, paternity can also be established in Mississippi through the courts after a complaint for establishing paternity is filed. In Mississippi, a complaint for establishing paternity can only be filed to determine the paternity of a minor child (i.e. a child who is less than 18 years old), and can be filed by the mother, an alleged father, the child, or the Mississippi Department of Human Services on behalf of the child. In order to determine a child’s paternity the court will generally order genetic testing of the mother, the child, and the alleged father. If the tests return a probability of fatherhood that is at least 98 percent then the court will issue an order presuming paternity. Courts in Mississippi are generally asked to legally establish a child’s paternity when parties do not agree on a child’s paternity or when a father refuses to voluntarily sign an acknowledgement of paternity form.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
If you have questions about establishing paternity in Mississippi contact Derek L. Hall, PC today. One of our highly experienced paternity attorneys would be happy to meet with you free of charge during an initial consultation in order to discuss your legal options. Contact our Jackson office today at (601) 768-8267.