A paternity action is needed when parents have a child (or children) and are not married. This procedure establishes the father legally. Most people are surprised to know that a father’s name on the birth certificate does not legally establish him as the father.
The paternity action also addresses custody, visitation and support for children. When the family is no longer living together, these issues become very important.
There are 2 kinds of custody, namely legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is normally shared 50/50 and involves decisions about education, healthcare, religion etc. However, physical custody is where the child primarily lives. When parents wish to share physical custody the child would live equally with both parents. This may occur when a child is older and both parents live near the school. In most cases a child lives primarily with one parent and the other parent has visitation. It’s best to discuss custody issues with the lawyer so that a firm understanding of what is in the best interest of the child can be made.
The other important issue is support for the child. There are many factors that determine support. The main factors are the income of both parents, amount of visitation and number of children. There are other factors as well. Lawyers and judges have a software program called a ‘dissomaster’ which determines an appropriate child support amount. Parents can also agree on an amount of support if they wish.
A paternity action gives the parents an opportunity to decide on a parenting schedule or, if they are not able to do so, allows the judge to make a ruling. Again, the courts look at what is in the best interest of the children.
Make a time to speak with one of our family law lawyers to discuss your particular case and to understand your legal rights. We’re ready to help @ 1-800-HELP-444!
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