Paternity actions are filed by parties that have a child together but were never married.  The filing of a Petition for Declaration of Paternity does not necessarily mean that either party is contesting the genetic paternity of the child(ren), it simply means there needs to be a judicial determination that the alleged father is in fact the biological father of the child(ren) in question.

Paternity actions consist of three parts:

  1. Establishment of paternity
  2. Establishment of custody and/or visitation
  3. Establishment of child support

Within the paternity process the parties will either amicably agree to a parenting plan or the court will adopt a parenting plan for the parties to follow.  Parents should give careful consideration when developing a parenting plan as this agreement will need to cover a variety of scenarios, as well as, provide for the needs of the child(ren) at different stages of their development.