Home » Paternity


The right to parent a child, spend time with a child, and direct a child’s upbringing belongs to that child’s biological or legal parents. While a child’s mother is often known, knowing if you are the father can be more challenging and uncertain. If you are a male and have not signed the child’s birth certificate, you may need to file a paternity action to establish your parental rights.

Women, too, can benefit from paternity actions. If you are a woman and your child’s father did not sign the birth certificate, you must file a paternity action and have a court find the man to be your child’s father before the court can order him to pay child support.

When paternity is challenged, both men and women can benefit from competent legal counsel to help them argue their positions. At Hankey Law Firm, our Cullman County family lawyer Shelbie Hankey has extensive experience arguing on behalf of both men and women, mothers and fathers, in Alabama paternity actions.

Contact our firm today to learn more about our services.

Paternity Presumptions in Alabama

In Alabama, if a child’s father is unknown, the court may examine whether one or more presumptions of paternity are applicable. As the name implies, a presumption of paternity is a circumstance or situation that, if present, allows the court to presume a man is a child’s father.

Alabama recognizes six different presumptions of paternity. They include the following:

1. If a man and woman are married and have a child while married, the man is presumed to be the child’s father

2. If a man and woman are married, but the marriage ends, the man is presumed to be the father of a child born within 300 days of the marriage’s end date

3. If a man and woman were not legally married but attempted to marry, then the man is the father of any child born while the two of them are together, and any child born within 300 days after the relationship’s end

4. If the man and woman are not married at the time of the child’s birth but later marry or attempt to marry, the man is presumed to be the father of a child if he acknowledges his paternity in writing, allows his name to be placed on the birth certificate, or supports the child either voluntarily or because of a court order

5. A man is the presumed father of a child that he openly holds out to the public as his own, and with whom he establishes a substantial parental relationship

6. If a man legitimizes a child under Alabama law, he is presumed to be the child’s father

A paternity presumption cannot be ignored unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the court should not follow it.

Challenges to Paternity

You can still benefit from a lawyer’s help even with these presumptions. One or more presumptions might apply in a single case, suggesting that two or more men are the father of a single child. In this case, a Cullman County paternity lawyer can help you sort through the conflicting evidence and establish a paternity order against the appropriate man.

You may also need an attorney’s assistance if you desire genetic testing. Courts in Alabama do not always order genetic testing in paternity cases, especially where one or more presumptions apply. Your attorney can review your case, looking for facts that might compel a court to order genetic testing to establish paternity.

Contact the Hankey Law Firm about Your Paternity Issues

If you reside in or around Cullman County and need an order of paternity to see your child or to compel the payment of child support, the Hankey Law Firm is available to help. Contact us today to discuss your case.