Las Vegas Paternity Law

A Detailed Guide To Help You Protect Your Rights

Do you have questions about paternity? Not sure what your rights are? Worried about how to establish paternity?

Paternity cases in Las Vegas can be confusing and downright gut wrenching. Let’s face it, Establishing paternity can come with a whole host of shared responsibilities including, but not limited to, child custody, Las Vegas child support and picking a school for the child!

While we still suggest you consult with a qualified Las Vegas Paternity Attorney before filing a paternity case, we have prepared this detailed guide to help you through the process of establishing paternity in Las Vegas and protecting your rights.

What Is Paternity and Why Is It Important?

uncontested divorce decree

Paternity means fatherhood. Establishing paternity means making the biological father the legal father too.

Despite what some people may tell you, paternity can be established as soon as the child is born until any time before the child reaches 21 years of age.

By now you might be thinking: “why is establishing paternity important?” “The mother knows who the father is!” “Isn’t that enough?”

The short answer is that establishing paternity of a child is extremely important for many reasons.

First, establishing paternity is important so that the relationship between both parents and the child is established.

Second, a paternity action establishes both parents’ financial obligations to the child and ensures that your child has enough money to meet their needs.

Paternity actions also ensure your child has access to Social Security benefits, insurance benefits, inheritance rights, Veterans and other rights.

Finally, establishing paternity is important so that your child may obtain a complete medical history from the families of both parents. This could include hereditary health problems.

Now that you know what paternity is and why it is important, let’s look at how paternity is established.

How Do I Establish Paternity?

spouse disagree

There are a few different ways to establish paternity. Let’s look at each possibility below:

First, if the mother is married or widowed at the time the child is born, her husband will be presumed to be the father. This is the law and you should expect that if you are married, the hospital will put your husband’s name on the child’s birth certificate as the father unless you advise the hospital otherwise.

In cases where a mother is married, but her husband is not the father of the child, the mother will need to present a Court order or a Voluntary acknowledgement of paternity signed by the biological father. Without this, like we said above, by law, the mother’s husband will be considered the legal father of the child.

By now you might be asking “how is paternity established if the child’s parent are not married?”

If the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth, paternity can be established in two ways:

One option is for the parents to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. The acknowledgement of paternity must be signed, witnessed and notarized. Most hospitals can assist in having parents fill out this document. Once the acknowledgement is signed, it needs to be mailed to the Department of Vital Statistics for the father’s name to be added to the child’s birth certificate.

Another way to establish paternity is through a Court order. Essentially, a judge will declare a man the father of a child after a court hearing or by default. Filing a paternity action can be complicated. Each step is addressed in more detail below. Just remember that once a court orders a father’s name added to the child’s birth certificate, a certified copy of the Court order must be delivered to the Department of Vital Statistics and a new birth certificate issued with the father’s name.

How Do I File A Paternity Case In Las Vegas?

There are a few different components to bring a paternity case in Las Vegas.

In this section, we consider:

  • Who can bring a paternity case
  • Where the case should be filed
  • The process for determining paternity if a Court case is filed

Let’s look at each  below. 


Who Can File A Las Vegas Paternity Case?

paternity lawsuit

Believe it or not, many different people can file a paternity case in Las Vegas.

Obviously, the mother of the child may file a paternity action against the father.

Likewise, if a man believes he is the father of a child, he may sue the mother for paternity.

What is less obvious is that a child may bring a paternity action against a man the child believes to be the father. Like we stated above, the child, the mother or father may file a paternity action until the child is 21 years old. If the child is made a party to a paternity case, the child may be appointed a guardian ad litem by the Court to represent the child’s interests.

It is also possible for the District Attorney’s Office to file a paternity case against someone believed to be the father of a child. The District Attorney can file a paternity case regardless of whether the mother or child are receiving State assistance.

Where Should The Paternity Case Be Filed?

divorce laws

If there is already a divorce, annulment, custody, termination of parental rights or child support case already filed, a request to determine paternity may be made in the existing case. For example, if you are seeking an annulment and believe that your spouse is the father of the child you are pregnant with, you may also want to file a paternity action in the same case.

If you do not have an existing family court case, it is important to determine where a case should be filed. Let’s break this down and address each possibility in more detail:

First, if you have sex in Nevada, you have consented to jurisdiction and it doesn’t matter whether you live in Nevada or not. What does this really mean? If you father a child in Nevada, or are suspected of fathering a child in Nevada, you can be sued in Nevada for paternity.

Second, a paternity case can be filed in any Nevada county where the child, the mother or the father live. For example, if you are the presumed father and you live in Washoe County and the child lives in Clark County with the mother, a paternity case can be filed in Washoe County or Clark County. Likewise, if you live in New York and the child lives in Las Vegas, the paternity case may be filed in Las Vegas regardless of whether you live here or not.

If you are considering bringing a paternity case, or if you are the subject of a paternity action, it is best to consult with an attorney to discuss your options for jurisdiction and venue of the paternity case.

Keep in mind that if a paternity case is filed before the child is born, the case will be stayed until after the child is born. This means that there will be no decisions about paternity, custody, child support, visitation or any other matters until after the birth of the child.

What Is The Process For Filing A Las Vegas Paternity Case?

paternity testing

Filing a paternity case in Las Vegas is similar to filing any other family law case.

First, you will need to complete a Complaint For Paternity. It is highly recommended that in the same Complaint, a request for custody, visitation and child support is also made. Because these are highly complex matters, it is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney for guidance on completing the Complaint.

If an acknowledgment of paternity has been completed or if the father’s name is on the birth certificate, you should proceed with having the complaint personally served on the other parent.

However, if paternity is not established with an acknowledgement of paternity or the birth certificate, or if the wrong father is listed on the birth certificate, you should absolutely request a DNA test in your Complaint for Paternity.

Once the Complaint is completed and filed, a Summons will need to be issued by the Clerk of the Family Court.

Next, you will need to have the other parent served with summons and complaint. If the case is strictly for paternity, the parent may be personally served by a process server, or other third party, who hands the papers to the non-filing parent OR the papers may be mailed, certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Again, service can be tricky and we strongly recommend talking with an attorney about serving paternity actions.

After service has been complete, you will need to wait 20 days for the other party to answer. Failure to respond to the Complaint will result in the filing party winning the paternity case.

If the opposing party responds to the Complaint, there is a very good chance that the Court will order DNA testing before entering any other orders. If the DNA test proves paternity, the Court may establish child support, visitation and custody. If the DNA test does not prove paternity, it is still possible the Court will make a finding of legal paternity as opposed to biological paternity.

Again, paternity actions can become extremely complicated and lengthy. It is strongly recommended that a qualified family law attorney be consulted if you want to file a Complaint for Paternity or if you have been sued in a Paternity Action.

Here Are Some Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Las Vegas Paternity Actions

The letters "FAQ" in large bold text to represent the start of a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Filing a paternity case can be extremely complicated.

Even if you know who the biological father of the child is, obtaining paternity comes with many other rights and responsibilities.

Here are answers to some of your Frequently Asked Questions about Las Vegas Paternity:

What If Someone Else’s Name Is On The Child’s Birth Certificate As The Father?

This is the most frequently asked question we get when we work on paternity cases and it often creates many issues.

When a father is listed on the birth certificate, whether they are the biological father or not, that father is known as the legal father.

Removing a legal father from the birth certificate can be an extremely difficult process depending on the age of the child, the circumstances under which the father’s name was placed on the birth certificate and whether the legal father wants to continue to have a relationship with the child.

Basically, just because another father is the biological father of the child, it does not mean the legal father will be removed from the child’s birth certificate. The biological father will need to demonstrate to the Court why it is in the child’s best interests to have the legal father removed from the birth certificate and replaced with the biological father.

Again, these issues can become very complicated extremely fast. We strongly recommend consulting with an attorney if you are in this situation.

If Paternity Is Established Will I Have To Pay Child Support?

Being a parent comes with legal and financial responsibilities. There is a very good chance that once paternity is established, the father will also be responsible for paying child support.

If no child support has ever been paid, and nobody else has supported the child, the father should expect to pay child support moving forward but also constructive support since the time of the child’s birth.

This can be very expensive and quite costly. Again, we strongly recommend consulting with an attorney to discuss your rights and options.

Going back to court to litigate an undisclosed asset or renegotiate child support can be time consuming and very expensive. When both sides have lawyers, in most cases, these issues are resolved in the initial paperwork avoiding the need to return to Court.

Once Paternity Is Established, Can I Change My Child’s Last Name

This is another question our office handles frequently in Las Vegas paternity cases.

Changing a child’s last name is always based on the facts of each specific case. Just because paternity is established does not mean an automatic Las Vegas name change for your child. Instead, the Court may consider a number of factors including:

  • The age of the child
  • Whether or not the child is in school
  • The existing last name of the child
  • Whether a legal father is involved
  • Whether the mother is in agreement to change the child’s last name
  • Your family heritage and background

If you have been established as the biological father of the child, we strongly recommend you discuss your request to change the child’s last name with the mother first. If you two are in agreement, the Court will likely change the last name. If there is a disagreement, the Court might take testimony to make a finding about whether changing your child’s name is in the child’s best interests. 

How Much Does A Paternity Case Cost In Las Vegas?

paternity case cost

The fees and costs associated with filing a paternity action depend on whether or not the action is contested or uncontested and who is filing the case. 

For example, if the case is being filed as part of a child support case brought by the District Attorney’s Office, chances are that it will not cost anything to establish paternity and child support. 

However, if the case is initiated by a parent in family court, the filing fees alone are $299. This is the fee regardless of whether or not the mother or father files for paternity. 

In addition, if you need to hire a process server to serve the paternity case, you should expect to spend another $200-$300 depending on where the non-filing party lives and how difficult they are to serve. 

The bottom line?

It costs anywhere from $300 to $750 just to file the paternity case in family court. You should also consider the costs for a notary, copy costs and e-filing fees. 

Just like in our other articles you should be extremely cautious of anyone telling you they can file a paternity case for $500 or less. Advertisers boasting about low cost paternity filings are either paralegals who should not be providing you legal advice, document service companies who are selling you documents you can easily obtain for free on-line, or companies that will have you do most, if not all, of the work yourself. 

There is no doubt that hiring an attorney for a paternity case is costly.Most paternity matters are highly contested and often require several court hearings before the case is completely resolved. Other cases might involve multiple parties and complex legal issues. As such, if you hire an attorney you should expect to spend at least $2,000 or more in lawyer fees. 

As with most cases, the total amount of fees and costs depends on the complex legal issues involved, how many court hearings are required, the amount of legal pleadings needed and whether or not you and the other party can resolve the case amicably. You can get more information about our fees for a Las Vegas Paternity Case by calling us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form.

How Can I Find An Attorney To Handle My Las Vegas Paternity Case?

Paternity lawyer

Deciding whether or not to file a paternity case can feel overwhelming. Likewise, being sued for paternity often results in panic, confusion and anxiety.

While there are lawyers around every bend, not all lawyers are created the same. And, as you’ve probably guessed from the information above, paternity cases are often extremely complex. Hiring a car accident lawyer to handle your paternity case on the side just won’t cut it.

If you are involved in a Las Vegas paternity case, we strongly recommend that you find an family law attorney with experience in paternity law matters.

Hiring the wrong attorney can result in you losing financially as well as your child being impacted for the rest of her life. There are just too many risks when you hire an inexperienced paternity lawyer.

Believe us. . .

It is critical that you find an experienced paternity lawyer from the beginning of your case to ensure your rights, and the rights of your child are protected.

So how do you find the right paternity lawyer?

Keep reading . . .

Online Research

Well, you found this article on-line so chances are you know how to conduct on-line research.

Just in case you aren’t sure where else to look consider Avvo, Findlaw and even Yelp for ideas about paternity lawyers.

When researching lawyers on-line, keep in mind that not all family law attorneys handle paternity cases. Again, paternity is its very own narrow area of law. When looking at lawyers online, make sure they have a specific section of their website dedicated to paternity law.

Ask Family And Friends

If you believe you will be filing a Las Vegas paternity case, or if you are the subject of a Las Vegas paternity lawsuit, ask family and friends who live in Las Vegas for recommendations.

Remember to ask them for attorneys who specifically handle paternity cases. Again, there are tons of family law attorneys in Las Vegas, but not all family law lawyers handle paternity actions. When you get recommendations from family and friends, do a little research on your own to make sure the lawyers work on paternity cases.

Once you’ve identified some paternity lawyers, make sure to schedule an initial consultation to get more information about their experience. Keep reading for information about interviewing potential paternity lawyers.

Interview Potential Lawyers

Before you ever hire a paternity lawyer, ask them about your specific case. Give the lawyer the facts as best as you can, and ask the lawyer’s opinion about your case. Make sure the lawyer provides clear, straightforward answers specific to your case. Keep in mind that no lawyer can predict with certainty any outcome in any case, but the lawyer should leave you feeling more comfortable and with peace of mind.

Ask the lawyer questions: (1) how much do they charge; (2) what steps will the lawyer take on your behalf; (3) how confident is the lawyer in your case; (4) how much experience does the lawyer have with cases like yours.

If you find a lawyer you like, don’t forget to ask about fees and timelines. Finding a lawyer that is a great fit is fine, but if you can’t afford the legal fees, that lawyer will not work and you will need to continue your search.

If you have the lawyer that fits, that you trust and like and that fits in your budget, move forward and protect your rights!

For more information about our fees, our experience with paternity cases and information about how we can help you, call us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form.

The letters "FAQ" in large bold text to represent the start of a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if someone else’s name is on the child’s birth certificate as the father?

It’s a common concern. When another father is listed on the birth certificate, whether they are the biological father or not, they’re recognized as the legal father. Removing a legal father from the birth certificate can be challenging, depending on various factors. Seek legal advice for guidance.

Will I have to pay child support once paternity is established?

Yes, being a parent entails legal and financial responsibilities. Once paternity is established, there’s a good chance the father will be responsible for child support. Consulting an attorney is crucial to understand your rights and options.

Once paternity is established, can I change my child’s last name?

It depends on the specifics of your case. While paternity establishes biological ties, changing a child’s last name involves multiple considerations, including the child’s age, schooling, existing last name, involvement of a legal father, and parental agreement. Seek legal advice for personalized guidance.

How much does a paternity case cost in Las Vegas?

The costs vary based on whether the case is contested or uncontested and who files the case. Filing fees alone are $299, and additional costs may include process serving fees, notary fees, and copy costs. Legal representation expenses can range from $2,000 or more. Consult with an attorney to understand the total expenses involved in your case.

If the mother refuses genetic testing, can the court order it?

Yes, if paternity is contested, the court can order genetic testing for the mother, alleged father, and child. The court has the authority to compel testing to establish paternity.

What happens if I don’t respond to a paternity complaint?

Failure to respond within 20 days to a paternity complaint could result in the court entering a default judgment establishing paternity. This can lead to child support and other obligations.

Can I request custody and visitation at the same time as establishing paternity?

Absolutely. It’s advisable to address custody, visitation, and child support determinations together within the initial paternity complaint. This streamlines the process and ensures all related issues are resolved simultaneously.

Is there a way to establish paternity without going to court?

Yes, parents can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which is then filed with the state. This establishes paternity without court involvement, provided both parties agree.

How long does a paternity case take in Nevada?

The duration varies. An uncontested case may take 4-6 months, while a contested case with genetic testing could extend to 1 year or longer depending on court schedules.

What happens if paternity testing shows the man is not the biological father?

If genetic testing excludes the alleged father, the paternity complaint against him may be dismissed. However, there’s no guarantee, as a legal parentage claim might still be made. Seek guidance from an experienced paternity lawyer in such situations.

"Glossary" in large, bold text, marking the beginning of a section defining key terms.


Alleged Father – The man who is claimed to be the biological father of the child in a paternity case.

Complaint – The initial court document filed to start a lawsuit. It states the facts and legal claims being made.

Default Judgment – A binding judgement issued by the court when one party fails to respond to a complaint.

Genetic Testing – Scientific tests like DNA analysis used to determine biological relationships.

Guardian Ad Litem – A person appointed by the court to represent the interests of a minor child in legal proceedings.

Jurisdiction – The authority of a court to hear a legal case in a particular location or over certain parties.

Legal Father – The man recognized as the father of a child under the law, whether biological or not.

Process Server – A person authorized to officially deliver court documents like summons, complaints, and subpoenas.

Summons – An official notice that a lawsuit has been filed against an individual or corporation.

Venue – The geographic place or location where a legal case may be filed and heard.

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity – A legal form signed by unmarried parents to establish paternity without court.

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Additional Resources for You

Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq., extends her expertise beyond just legal representation by offering a wealth of resources designed to assist you through various family law matters in Nevada. Recognizing the complexities and emotional challenges that often accompany these situations, these resources provide valuable information, guidance, and support to navigate your legal journey:

  1. Las Vegas Family Law Attorneys: A comprehensive guide offering expert legal advice and representation for a range of family law issues in Las Vegas. Explore the guide.

  2. Family Court Las Vegas: Insightful information about navigating the Family Court system in Las Vegas, helping you understand the processes and procedures involved. Learn more.

  3. Common Law Marriage in Nevada: An informative resource addressing the specifics and legal standing of common-law marriage in the state of Nevada. Understand the details.

  4. Name Change Las Vegas: Guidance on the legal process of changing your name in Las Vegas, outlining the necessary steps and legal considerations. Start the name change process.

  5. Nevada Power of Attorney: Essential information on establishing a Power of Attorney in Nevada, enabling you to make informed decisions about granting legal authority in your affairs. Read about Power of Attorney.

  6. How to File a Motion in Family Court: Step-by-step guidance on filing a motion in family court, helping you understand the procedural aspects of presenting your case effectively. Learn how to file a motion.

  7. Family Court Mediation: Insights into the mediation process in family court, offering strategies for conflict resolution and reaching amicable agreements. Explore mediation options.

  8. Unbundled Attorney: Information about unbundled legal services, providing a flexible and cost-effective option for legal representation tailored to your specific needs. Discover unbundled legal services.

  9. Nevada Adoption: A resource dedicated to the adoption process in Nevada, offering guidance and support for those looking to expand their families through adoption. Learn about Nevada adoption.

Molly Rosenblum, Esq., through these resources, aims to empower you with the knowledge and support necessary to navigate the complexities of family law with confidence and clarity. We encourage you to make use of these resources in your time of need.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are seven offsite resources that provide information about paternity law in Las Vegas:

  1. FindLaw: This online resource provides free legal information, a lawyer directory, and other resources on a wide range of legal topics, including paternity law.

  2. Justia: Justia offers free legal information, a directory of attorneys for various legal issues, and a specific section on family law and paternity.

  3. Avvo: This website provides a directory of lawyers, including those in Las Vegas, legal advice, and other resources on a broad range of legal topics, including paternity law.

  4. Nolo: Nolo provides legal information to consumers and small businesses, including articles, blogs, FAQs, and news on paternity issues.

  5. LegalMatch: This online legal matching service helps individuals find lawyers in their area, including Las Vegas, and provides advice and resources on family law matters, including paternity.

  6. The Nevada Bar Association: The official website of the Nevada State Bar offers resources for finding a lawyer, including those who specialize in family law and paternity.

  7. Clark County Courts: The official website for the Clark County Courts in Las Vegas, Nevada. It provides information about the local court system and legal procedures, including paternity issues.

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A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney

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Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Are you in Las Vegas and need help with a paternity case?

Look no further than The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm.

Our team of knowledgeable attorneys can provide the legal counsel you need to reach a desirable outcome for your case.

With years of experience, we are dedicated to delivering only the best representation that will get results.

We understand how daunting these sorts of cases can be so let us take on your burden and handle it professionally while keeping an eye out for what’s most important: YOU!

So don’t delay, call us at (702) 433-2889 today – together we’ll make sure justice is served!

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