If a child is born to two unmarried persons, a Court proceeding is necessary to determine the "Father-child Relationship" (Paternity). An experienced family law attorney is necessary to set forth each parents rights with the child. Our approach in every case is to try to do everything that can and should be done to ensure our client is in the strongest possible position to negotiate a settlement or present a contested case to the court in a trial.
One party initiates the paternity action by filing a petition and other financial documents with the court, requesting to establish paternity, possible child support, a custody schedule, and past expenses for the birth and the child.
All of these papers are "served" on the other parent.
The person being served must then file a response, financial documents and their request regarding establishing paternity, possible child support, a custody schedule, and past expenses for the birth and the child.
After the process begins, the parties will have an opportunity to investigate assets, request information in written or oral form and seek information from third parties. This process is called Discovery.
Custody of children must be set forth in a written document called a parenting plan. If there are concerns about the safety of the children a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed. A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the children in a custody case.
Once the case has been filed with the Court, court appearances will be set for the attorneys, parties, and Judge to discuss the case. During this process, there is an opportunity for settlement of your case. If a written agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be presented to the Judge in a trial.
- legal custody (who makes decisions)
- physical custody (who has the child in their care)
- Including insurance, daycare and other costs of the children.
- Guidelines are set forth in Supreme Court Rule
Establish the Father-child relationship
- Amend the birth certificate to include the father's name.
- Name of the child.
- Past expenses for birth and the child.