How and when can paternity be established?
An action to establish paternity is initiated by filing a Petition or Complaint to Establish Paternity. Such a Petition may be initiated during pregnancy or after the child is born, but must be filed prior to the child's 18th birthday.
Who may file a Complaint to Establish Paternity?
A Petition to Establish Paternity may be filed by the male claiming to be the father, the child's mother, or the Attorney General's Office. A male who has been legally designated as a child's father but later wishes to dispute his paternity may also file a legal action.
What is the process for establishing paternity?
First, a Petition for Paternity must be filed with the Superior Court. This can be filed by the person wishing to establish his paternity, by the child's mother, or by the Child Support Division of the Attorney General's Office. The AG's office is mandated by law to file such Complaints for free while pursuing child support on behalf of the child. The Complaint, along with a Summons to appear in court, is then served on the Defendant. The Defendant can either admit or deny his paternity. If he admits paternity, the judge will issue a Judgment Establishing Paternity. Child support will then be assessed as a result of the finding.
If the Defendant denies paternity, the Court will order the parties and the minor to undergo genetic testing. If the test indicates that the Defendant is the father and he does not challenge the findings of the test, the Defendant must pay for the genetic testing cost. If he continues to challenge the results of the genetic test, he may request another genetic test, although he will have to pay it. If the mother denies the paternity of the alleged father and he is found to be the father, the mother must reimburse the Government for the genetic test. Again, once paternity is established, child support will be determined.
How much will a Paternity case cost?
The typical legal fee is $895. This could increase if a full trial is required. In addition, the court fees are at least $335, but may be greater depending on how the case proceeds. Notary fees are extra.
How can I get started with an action to establish paternity?
Simply click on the "Paternity Worksheet" button and complete the form. It is important that you fill the worksheet out completely. Once you have completed the worksheet, call my office at 472-8472 and set up an appointment for a consultation. The consultation fee is $75 for up to 30 minutes. Be sure to bring the worksheet with you and a copy of the child's birth certificate . Without a worksheet, I will not be able to meet with you. >Click here to get started with a worksheet
This explanation sheet is provided for general information only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. You should discuss the specifics of your situation with a reputable attorney prior to taking any legal action. Neither this site nor anyone associated with this site shall be held liable for the use of the information contained in this document or for any decisions made based on the information provided herein.