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Establishing paternity; a major step in obtaining child support

Every child deserves to know his or her mother and father and get love and affection from both parents. Ideally, both parents are present during the child's upbringing. However, separations do happen, and when a child resides with only one parent, child support may be necessary for meeting day-to-day expenses.

Residents of Alexandria City, Virginia, may know that a child needs to have a legal father in order to collect child support. A man is considered legal father of a child if he voluntarily acknowledges paternity by signing a form. If a child was born when the parents were married, the husband is automatically considered the legal father of the child. If there is no voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, there are laws in place, which govern how paternity can be established by a child's mother.

Per Virginia law, paternity is established through voluntary acknowledgements of paternity, genetic paternity tests, also called DNA tests, or through a court order. If one of the parents seeks its services, the Division of Child Support Enforcement can take steps to establish paternity of a child. In certain cases, there may be dispute over the real father of a child. When that's the case, child support orders can be difficult to enforce. However, if the named father refuses to acknowledge that he is the father of the child, a genetic test can be ordered by the authorities to determine the real father.

For a genetic test, genetic samples from the father, mother and child are required. However, only a court can decide and give orders regarding paternity and child support. Any reader caught in such a situation may wish to have the services of an attorney for further guidance.

Source:, "Child Support and You," accessed Oct. 29, 2014

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Alexandria, VA 22314

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