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What is a Paternity Case?

When parents are not married, the type of family law action that will be used is called a paternity. The court can enter a paternity adjudication wherein the man will be legally determined to be the father of the child. There is a means to avoid court and still have the man determined to be the father. There is a document called a Paternity Acknowledgement at the hospital. We often refer to that as PATH. The man who is believed to be the father and the mother can fill out this paperwork at the hospital. If properly filed, with appropriate authorities and the appropriate amount of time, it has the same legally binding effect as an adjudication of paternity. In paternity actions, the court has the same ability to make orders regarding custody and placement as it does in a divorce or legal separation. It is important for the man, assumed to be or alleged to be the father, to fully understand his rights in a paternity action.

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