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Paternity is a term that is often used in family law to describe a man's role or status as the father of a child. A father has specific legal rights and obligations when it comes to his child, and if paternity is questionable these may be in question as well. It may therefore be necessary to undergo paternity proceedings to establish or disprove that a man is the father of a child.

Paternity is a family law matter that may need to be addressed in conjunction with child support, child custody or visitation proceedings. It may also arise in adoption-related matters. DNA testing may be used to determine whether a man is the biological father of a child, but there are also scenarios where a man may be considered the legal father even if he is not the biological father (as in the case of adoption or assisted reproduction).