Paternity refers to a legal action to establish that a certain male is the father of a child. A paternity action may be brought to impose a child support obligation, establish a right to inheritance, secure consent for the child's adoption or gain custody or parental access rights. Establishing paternity may also be a critical contribution to a child's sense of identity.

Representation of both men and women in paternity actions is often overlooked as a significant and complex area of family law. However, with the development of more sophisticated medical techniques for determining paternity and the ability to determine paternity at an earlier stage, including prior to birth, issues of paternity are coming to the forefront in the legal arena. These issues often involve complex custody and/or visitation litigation and significant negotiation, often using alternative dispute resolution.

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