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Questions About Parentage Actions

1. What is a paternity or parentage action?

A parentage action is a legal proceeding to establish parental rights on behalf of an unmarried parent when the parties were not married.

Initially, the Court will decide whether the parent suing for parental rights is the parent.  This is often not in dispute, particularly if the father has signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity in the hospital.  But if paternity is disputed, genetic testing is often ordered to confirm parentage.

There are certain legal presumptions which may apply to determine parentage of a non-biological party, for example, when a party is married to the biological  parent of a child at the time of conception,  or when a party has held himself or herself  out as the parent of a child.

2. What issues are decided in a parentage action?

Once parentage is established, the Court makes orders regarding child support and child custody, including both legal and physical custody of the minor child.

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