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These are the infamous words spoken by Maury Povich on his day-time talk show, which frequently determines paternity for a child born out of wedlock. Although talk shows dramatize the issues of paternity, an action to establish paternity can be emotionally charging and involve complex legal issues.

In Nevada, paternity can be established by an action in the Court, the Child Support Enforcement Agency or the District Attorney.  This article will focus more on a private court action. A man is presumed to be the father of a child if he:

      ·         was married to the mother,

      ·         cohabitated with the mother for at least six months before and through the period of conception

      ·         attempted to marry the mother before the child’s birth, but the marriage is invalid and the child was born 285 days after being      declared invalid or the cohabitation ended; or

      ·          took the child, while the child was a minor, into his home and holds the child out as his own. NRS 126.051(1).

A man is conclusively presumed to be the father if a genetic test shows a 99% probability or more that the man is the father. NRS 126.051(2). A man can also voluntarily acknowledge paternity in writing.  NRS 126.053.

Unless the mother has abandoned the child, the mother of a child born out of wedlock has primary physical custody of the child if there is no court order holding otherwise. NRS 126.031(2). Therefore, if you are the father of a child born out of wedlock you will need to seek the advice of an experienced attorney so that your rights can be established in an action for paternity and/or child custody and child support.

Both the mother and father of a child born out of wedlock have rights and obligations as parents and without starting an action in the Family Court and obtaining a Court Order often one party tries to dictate or deny the rights of the other. 

It is in the best of interest of the child for an action to be commenced to establish these rights so that the guesswork is taken out and each party knows whether the man is the father of the child, whether the parents will have joint custody or whether one parent will be the primary custodial parent with the other having visitation, whether child support will be awarded and who would be responsible for health care expenses among other important issues.

If you are the mother or think you may be the father of a child born out of wedlock, contact our office so that one of our experienced attorneys can advise you and represent you in a an action for Paternity, Child Custody and Child Support.


For more information contact us at office@fdlawlv.com.

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