Paternity refers to the establishment of the legal father of a child. Often, paternity issues arise in cases involving child support, but they can also be important in relation to adoption, inheritance, custody and visitation, and health care. While many states require that paternity be established by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it must be more likely than not that a putative father is the father, some states apply a higher standard.

If you’re seeking to establish or challenge paternity in a civil suit, an attorney can help you in offering the correct evidence under state law and completing the proper paperwork.