Paternity refers to the father of a child. Many men are legally established as the father of their children when their children are born and they sign their names to the baby’s birth certificate. This is the most common way to establish legal paternity of a child, but there are a number of other ways as well.

When the situations in life get a bit complicated and paternity is disputed, it’s important that someone is named the legal father for reasons such as the custody of the child or child support. A DNA test is a common way to establish paternity in the case of a dispute.

Establishing paternity can be voluntary or involuntary. When a child is born in a marriage or when the father lives in the same home and has a close relationship with the child from birth, paternity is assumed. In other cases, a paternity lawsuit can obligate a man to submit to a DNA test. A Maryland paternity lawyer can provide more information.