A father and son together

Albuquerque Paternity & Child Custody Attorneys

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the father will not automatically have parental rights or responsibilities for that child. Paternity will have to be officially established for the father to claim these rights and be held responsible for financially supporting the child.

At Sutherland Law Firm, LLC, our Albuquerque family attorneys have decades of experience representing women and men in paternity cases. Diligent and compassionate, our lawyers can help you successfully navigate your paternity case, protecting your rights and interests at every step of the process.

Call 505-539-3232 or Email Us for Answers about How to Proceed with Your Paternity Case

We are ready to help you resolve your paternity case so you can focus on the next chapter of your life.


In New Mexico, there are a few different options for establishing paternity, including:

  • Signing an affidavit – When the paternity of a child is undisputed, the father can sign an affidavit affirming that he is the father of the child. An affidavit is a formal statement made under the oath of the court. This out-of-court option for establishing paternity can be done at the hospital immediately after the birth, as well as at the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement office.1
  • Getting a court order to establish paternity – When paternity is disputed, either the mother or the potential father can request an official court order to establish paternity. This process can involve DNA testing to confirm or rule out paternity, as well as court hearings. When DNA tests are ordered, they typically involve non-invasive methods, like swabbing the child’s and potential father’s cheeks and testing the saliva samples.


A number of benefits can come from establishing paternity, including establishing a means for:

  • The father to seek custody – With paternity established, the father can petition the court for legal and physical custody of his child. New Mexico family courts are generally inclined to divide custody between the mother and father when it serves the best interests of the child.
  • Both parents to financially contribute to the child’s upbringing and welfare – The mother and/or the father can seek child support from the court once paternity has been established. How and when child support is awarded by the court will depend on the custody split, the income of each parent, and other factors.

Please be aware that establishing paternity may also provide a child and the mother with a way to access important information regarding the family medical history associated with the father.