A paternity action is filed to address the rights and obligations regarding minor children of unmarried parents. Even when the paternity (fatherhood) of a child is not in dispute, a paternity action can be filed to address all other issues with respect to the child(ren). If the paternity (fatherhood) of a child is in dispute, DNA paternity testing will be ordered by the court, if not agreed to by the parties.
The issues to be address in a paternity action include the following:
- Paternity (fatherhood)—the court will determine who is the legal father of the child
- Shared parental responsibility—the court will determine or the parties should agree as to whether it is in the best interests of the children for the parents to have shared parental responsibility (joint decision making with respect to all major decisions, shared parental responsibility with one parent having decision-making authority over certain aspects of the child(ren)’s lives, or sole parental responsibility)
- Parenting plan/ timesharing (custody)—the court will determine or the parties should agree to a specific schedule of time that the child(ren) shall spend with each parent. A parenting plan is a written agreement between the parties or contained in an order issued by the court addressing all issues related to the child(ren), including timesharing.
- Child support—the court will determine which parent shall owe child support to the other parent and how much child support shall be paid
- Retroactive child support—to determine child support for past periods of time during which no child support was paid, which could include child support from the time the amount is established retroactive for a period of two years prior to the date the paternity action was filed
- Medical insurance—the court will determine or the parties should agree as to whether either parent shall provide medical insurance for the benefit of the child(ren)
- Life insurance—the court will determine or the parties should agree as to whether either or both parents shall be required to provide life insurance to secure their child support obligation
- Surname (last name) of the child—the parties can agree or the court can order that the last name of the child be changed to that of the father, if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child(ren)
- Expenses related to the birth of the child(ren)—the court can divide the medical expenses incident to the birth of the child(ren) between the parties if there are outstanding expenses
Deciding issues in a paternity action can have serious and long-term consequences. Give Trader Legal a call today at (321) 723-6731 and our attorneys can help you resolve these issues.