Paternity is the legal relationship between a man and his child. In Nevada, paternity can be important for many reasons including custody and support for the child. Under some circumstances, a presumption exists that a man is a child's father. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate paternity issues.
Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Based in Henderson, Nevada, we serve clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.
Establishment of Relationship
Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 126.041, the parent and child relationship between a man and a child may be established in a number of ways. The relationship may be established under NRS chapter 126 as discussed below. It may also be established pursuant to the following statutes: NRS 125B.150; NRS 130.402; and NRS 425.382 to 425.3852.
These statutes state that a parent and child relationship between a child and a man may be established by:
- Proof of adoption of the child by the man.
- The consent of the man to assisted reproduction pursuant to NRS 126.670 and 126.680 which resulted in the birth of the child.
- An adjudication confirming the man as a parent of a child born to a gestational carrier. If the gestational agreement was validated pursuant to applicable law.
In Nevada, a presumption of paternity exists when a man and woman are married or cohabiting and have a child. When an unmarried couple has a child, paternity is established through one of the following ways:
- Either parent filing a complaint to establish paternity.
- Signing a declaration of paternity.
- The district attorney filing a case to establish paternity.
Pursuant to NRS 126.051(1)(a), a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if he and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born:
- During the marriage.
- Within 285 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce, or after a court enters a decree of separation.
Under NRS 126.051(1)(b), a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
- He and the child’s natural mother were cohabiting for at least 6 months before the period of conception and continued to cohabit through the period of conception.
Per NRS 126.051(1)(c), a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
- Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is invalid or could be declared invalid, and:
- If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 285 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce; or
- If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 285 days after the termination of cohabitation.
NRS 126.051(1)(d) provides that a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
- While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child.
If there is a presumption of paternity, can anything be done? A man can rebut a presumption of paternity through an “appropriate action" by “clear and convincing evidence." Additionally, subsection 1 of NRS 126.051. NRS 126.051(3) states in part that a “court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man" can rebut the presumption.
Is there any way to prove paternity? Under subsection 2 of NRS 126.051, “a conclusive presumption that a man is the natural father of a child is established if tests for the typing of blood or tests for genetic identification made pursuant to NRS 126.121 show a probability of 99 percent or more that he is the father." That presumption “may be rebutted if he establishes that he has an identical sibling who may be the father."
In Nevada, a declaration for the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or parentage is deemed to have the same effect “as a judgment or order of a court determining the existence of the relationship of parent and child."
Parents sign a declaration of paternity if they agree that the man is the legal father of the child. In Nevada, parents can sign the form at the hospital when the baby is born.
Effective May 2, 2016, the Office of Vital Records will only accept a declaration of paternity if it is witnessed by an employee from the Office of Vital Records or another approved agency. In Nevada, parents can sign the declaration of paternity at:
Under subsection 2 of NRS 126.053, a person may rescind an acknowledgment of paternity:
- Within 60 days after both persons sign the acknowledgment; or
- Before the date on which an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child begins if that person is a party to the proceeding,
whichever occurs earlier.
After the expiration of the period to rescind, a person may only challenge the acknowledgment on the grounds of:
- Material mistake of fact
Under NRS 126.071(1), any of the following persons may bring an action “to declare the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship":
- A child
- His or her natural mother
- A man presumed or alleged to be his or her father
- An interested third party
Upon request from a person listed above, the district attorney “shall take such action as is necessary to establish the parentage of a child."
In Nevada, if a person brings a paternity action before the birth of the child, all proceedings are stayed until the child’s birth except:
- Service of process
- The taking of depositions to perpetuate testimony
An action brought under NRS chapter 126 “to declare the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship is not barred until 3 years after the child reaches the age of majority."
Per NRS 126.131, evidence relating to paternity in Nevada may include the following:
- Evidence of sexual intercourse between the mother and alleged father at any possible time of conception.
- An expert’s opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged father’s paternity based upon the duration of the mother’s pregnancy.
- The results of any test for the typing of blood or taking of specimens for genetic identification that is:
- Of a type acknowledged as reliable by an organization approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and
- Performed by a laboratory which is accredited by such an organization.
- An expert’s opinion concerning the results of a blood test or test for genetic identification, weighted in accordance with evidence, if available, of the statistical probability of the alleged father’s paternity.
- Medical or anthropological evidence relating to the alleged father’s paternity of the child based on tests performed by experts.
- All other evidence relevant to the issue of paternity of the child.
Establishing paternity in Nevada can be a stressful experience. It is important that you understand your rights and responsibilities. An experienced family law lawyer can guide you through the paternity process.
Paternity can be a complicated process with long term consequences. The team at Anthem Divorce Lawyers can help you navigate paternity issues. We are located in Henderson, Nevada and work with clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.