Why Would I File a Paternity Action?

How does one establish parental rights and obligations?

If the parents of a child were never married and the father is seeking to establish his parental rights, he may file a petition with the Court. By filing his petition, the father would seek the creation of a parenting plan, which may include requests for custody, visitation, and/or support. A parenting plan may be accomplished by stipulation between the parties or, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, through a court trial.

If the parents of a child were never married, and the mother is seeking child support from the father, she may file a petition with the Court.

Why test for Paternity?

  • Paternity testing may be used to prove paternity, with or without a court order.
  • Paternity testing may be used to disprove paternity, with or without a court order.

What is the process to obtain a Judgment of Paternity?

How do I open a case with the Court?

To open a case with the Court, one parent files the Summons and Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. A Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is also filed with the Summons and Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. The other parent must file a Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship and a UCCJEA.

How is judgment entered?

The final step is settlement of the issues in the case, which are generally limited to child custody, visitation, and child support. If the parties can reach agreement without court intervention, the parties sign a Stipulated Judgment, which will be signed by the Judge. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, they will have to set a date for trial and the Court will decide custody of the child(ren), visitation, and if and how much child support should be awarded.