Family law can be exceedingly complex in North Dakota. While most issues that come to the forefront center on divorce, child support, spousal support and other basic considerations, paternity can also be a factor. In some instances, when a couple has a child, there could be a question as to whom the biological father is. Understanding the presumption of paternity is a key part of a case as the biological father and his identity can be critical to determining visitation rights and child support. The mother, the presumed father and a potential father should be aware of this law.
There will be a presumption of paternity: if a man is married to the mother of the child and the child is born when they are married; if the man and the mother were married and the child was born within 300 days of the marriage ending in any way; or if, prior to the child’s birth, the mother and the man were married in a way they believed would comply with the law even if the marriage could be rendered invalid within 300 days of the birth.
Paternity can also be presumed once the child has been born, the man and the mother could have gotten married in a way that they believed complied with the law even if it could be declared invalid and the following occurred: the assertion that the couple was legally married was filed with the North Dakota Department of Health; the man agreed to be named as the child’s father on the birth certificate and this was done; or if the man promised to support the child as his own and it is on the record. The man is also considered the child’s father if he lived in the same household with the child during his or her first two years of life and he presented himself as the father.
Since paternity can be in dispute for many reasons, it is important to understand the law for presumption of paternity. There are other considerations such as rebutting the presumption of paternity that must be considered. A law firm with experience in all aspects of family law should be consulted when there are concerns over paternity from all perspectives.