PATERNAL - Steven J. Coker
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: October 01, 1998

Extracted From:
  by John Bouvier

PATER. Father. A term used in making genealogical tables. 

PATER FAMILIAS, civil law. One who was sui juris and consequently was not either
under parental power, nor under that of a master; a child in his cradle,
therefore, could have been pater familias, if he had neither a master nor a

PATERNA PATERNIS. This expression is used in the French law to signify that in a
succession, the property coming from the father of the deceased, descends to his
paternal relations. 

PATERNAL. That which belongs to the father or comes from him: as, paternal
power, paternal relation, paternal estate, paternal line.

PATERNAL POWER. Patria potestas, The authority lawfully exercised by parents,
over their children. It will be proper to consider,

   1. Who are entitled to exercise this power.

   2. Who are subject to it.

   3. The extent of this power. 

   -1. As a general rule the father is entitled to exert the paternal power over
his children. But for certain reasons, when the father acts improperly, and
against the interest of those over whom nature and the law have given him
authority, he loses his power over them. It being a rule that whenever the good
of the child requires it, the courts will deliver the custody of the children to
others than the father. And numerous instances may be found where, for good
reasons, the custody will be given to the mother. 
   The father of a bastard child has no control over him; the mother has the
right to the custody and control of such child....

   -2. All persons are subject to this power until they arrive at the full age
of twenty-one years. A father may, however, to, a certain extent, deprive
himself of this unlimited paternal power, first, by delegating it to others, as
when he binds his son an apprentice; and, secondly, when he abandons his
children, and permits them to act for themselves.

   -3. The principle upon which the law is founded as to the extent of paternal
power is, that it be exerted for the benefit of the child. The child is subject
to the lawful commands of the father to attend to his business, because by being
so subjected he acquires that discipline and the practice of attending to
business, which will be useful to him in after life. He is liable to proper
correction for the same reason....

PATERNAL PROPERTY. That which descends or comes from the father and other
ascendants, or collaterals of the paternal stock....

PATERNITY, The state or condition of a father. 
   The husband is prima facie presumed to be the father of his wife's children,
born during coverture, or within a competent time afterwards pater is est quem
nuptim demonstrant.... But this presumption may be rebutted by showing
circumstances which render it impossible that the husband can be the father.
   The declarations of both or one of the spouses, however, cannot affect the
condition of a child born during the marriage.

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