What are my rights if I’ve met my biological father who has acknowledged me as his biological child but refuses to have any sort of contact with me?

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What are my rights if I’ve met my biological father who has acknowledged me as his biological child but refuses to have any sort of contact with me?

I recently came into contact with his niece (my biological cousin) who has informed me that the family belong to an Indian tribe, but I need my bio-father’s tribal registry number in order for me to register with the tribe. Can an adult child get a court-ordered paternity test? Can the court order that he give me the information so that I may register with the tribe, as I am certain that I’m in the bloodline? Am I entitled to any part of his estate (I am his only child, but he has a wife)?

Asked on May 24, 2013 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue; the tribal nation. You need to find out through an attorney who handles tribal law whether these family law issues are somehow preempted under tribal law or if you have to go to the tribal court (tribal elders) or family court to petition for paternity and then of course for anything that flows from paternity.  Paternity doesn't automatically mean you get to inherit. If your father has a will, for example, and he specifically excludes you from the will, then you will be excluded no matter what.


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