An issue we see quite often as family law attorneys is the establishment of paternity. If an unmarried couple has children, and one of the parents wishes to establish child support or custody, then “official” paternity must be established by the court. In almost all of the paternity cases we have handled, no doubt exists as to the identity of the father. That is, paternity actions almost always occur as mere formalities so that other legal proceedings such as child support or custody determinations can take place.
We have helped couples obtain a definitive answer to their paternity issues so they may proceed with child support or custody determinations. We are able to provide a clear and rational approach for our clients who want to establish paternity for custody or child support purposes. It almost always is worth the extra cost and effort to hire a legal team that will fight for you, but also approach your legal problem with the emotional detachment and skill that is necessary to navigate through the court procedures required for paternity determination.
One of the best steps you can take to preserve your emotional and financial future when facing a paternity, custody and child support issues is to consult with an experienced family law attorney. We can educate you on the laws that effect you and discuss the legal options that apply to your individual paternity dispute. Most of our clients feel empowered or at least better informed of their legal options after a consultation. Listed below is some general legal information regarding paternity. Review it at your leisure, but do not delay in calling our office if you have a paternity issue to discuss.
Paternity is defined as “the state or condition of being a father”. This type of action arises when the parties, who were never legally married to each other, are the parents of a child.
Either the mother or the father of the child may file the Paternity action, to establish parentage of a child. The Court, in a Paternity action, will decide the issues of paternity, child custody and visitation, and child support. The Paternity action is commenced by the filing of a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, along with the Summons, in the Court.
A Paternity action will ultimately result in a “Judgment of Paternity” granted by the Court. The Judgment will contain orders regarding paternity, child custody and visitation, and child support. If the parties are able, at any time during the action, to reach an agreement with respect to the resolution of the issues that have arisen in their action, they then execute a Stipulated Judgment of Paternity, submit it to the Court for the Judge’s signature and entry, and do not need to appear in Court. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, then the Court will resolve the parties’ differences at a Trial, and then will issue a Court Judgment of Paternity