Paternity, Custody, Visitation & Support
Paternity may be declared before a child is born by filing a Declaration of Paternity with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. After the baby is born, paternity for a child born out of wedlock may be established by completing and filing an Affidavit of Paternity with the State Registrar. If an Affidavit of Paternity is not completed or the mother refuses to consent, court action may become necessary to establish paternity. For children born of wedlock, the husband’s paternity is established by operation of law. In a court proceeding, blood or genetic testing may be completed to determine paternity. Under certain circumstances an established father may want to overcome paternity by requesting blood or genetic testing to determine of the established father is not the child’s biological father.
The term “custody” is generally referred to as which parent the child primarily resides with. Physical custody or physical care means the right and responsibility to maintain a home and provide routine care for the minor child. Joint physical care or shared care means an award of physical care of a minor child to both parents jointly under which both parents have rights and responsibilities toward the child including but not limited to shared parenting time with the child, maintaining homes for the child, providing routine care for the child and under which neither parent has physical care rights superior to those of the other parent. The Court considers the best interest of the child(ren) in ordering a custody arrangement that will give the child(ren) the change for maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents.
Parent have a legal obligation to support their minor child(ren). Each order for child support also addresses medical support. Medical support can be either health insurance or cash medical support and includes the payment of medical, dental, prescription, and other health care expenses for a child.
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