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A civil action brought against an unwed father by an unmarried mother to obtain support for an illegitimate child and for payment of bills incident to the pregnancy and the birth.
A paternity suit, also known as an affiliation proceeding, is a criminal proceeding in certain states.
Generally the unwed mother initiates a paternity suit; in some jurisdictions, however, if the mother is a minor, proceedings must be initiated by a parent or guardian acting on her behalf.
n. a lawsuit, usually by a mother, to prove that a named person is the father of her child (or the fetus she is carrying). Evidence of paternity may include blood tests (which can eliminate a man as a possible father), testimony about sexual relations between the woman and the alleged father, evidence of relationship of the couple during time the woman became pregnant, admissions of fatherhood, comparison of child in looks, eye and hair color, race, and increasingly, DNA evidence. In addition to the desire to give the child a known natural father, proof of paternity will lead to the right to child support, birthing expenses, and the child's inheritance from his father. The threat of a paternity suit against a man married to another may lead to a prompt and quiet settlement.