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Establishing paternity is an important part of custody battles

Parents in Kentucky and across the country have an understandably vested interest in their child's wellbeing. Feeling comfortable with where a child lives, goes to school and receives medical care will be among a parent's top priorities.

For fathers, part of ensuring their role in the decision-making process will involve establishing paternity. According to the National Center for Fathering, courts have traditionally sided with mothers, and an alleged 20 percent of mothers do not value the relationship their children have with their fathers.

However, a man who has established paternity can gain rights to a child, including custodial or visitation rights. Under Kentucky law, a man married to the mother of the child at the child's birth is presumed to be the father. The man is also assumed to be the father if the child is born within 10 months following his legal marriage to the child's mother.

If parents are not married, both parties can sign a voluntary acknowledgment stating that the man is the child's father. This can be done at the time of birth at the hospital, and the father's name will be added to the birth certificate. The form may also be signed at a county registrar office at any time.

The other way to establish paternity is through filing a complaint. A mother, father, child or even a government lawyer is able to start this process. When a dispute regarding fatherhood arises, either party may request genetic testing, and all parties involved must submit to it. This is either performed through blood testing or through swabbing the inside of the cheek on the father, mother and child. These tests are regarded to be between 90 and 99 percent accurate. Therefore, a court will take a positive test result to be fact.

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