When two people who were never married have a child and separate, it is important to pursue a paternity action in order to get a court ordered time-sharing arrangement for the child.  Sometimes, the Department of Revenue will seek to establish a court order for child support.  However, the Department of Revenue court cases will not address the time-sharing arrangement for the child.  As such, the payor for purposes of child support may end up with a court ordered obligation to pay child support without a court ordered right to have time-sharing with the child.  

When one party decides to pursue a paternity action, the issue of paternity may be disputed or the parties may already agree concerning the identity of the father.  When the issue is in dispute, the Court may order DNA testing to confirm the biological father’s ties to the child(ren).  

After paternity is established, the Court will also determine the time-sharing arrangement for the child and the issue of child support as well as other issues that pertain to the particular child or family.  More and more frequently judges are ordering an equal time-sharing arrangement or at least substantial time-sharing to both parties.  If you do not believe that an equal time-sharing arrangement would be best for your child, it is even more important to contact an experienced family law attorney for guidance.  

The Court will also decide the issue of child support.  Child support may be ordered retroactively for up to two years before the petition is filed.  As such, the payor of child support may have a substantial child support arrearage if he/she has not been paying child support.  However, the payor would also have the right to credit toward the arrearage for any payments made and may be able to get credit for payments made in-kind for the benefit of the child.  

If you have a paternity action that you would like to discuss, contact the Law Office of Silverman, Vorhis & Mack at (352) 337-8373 for a free initial consultation.