A paternity action is used any time the parents are unmarried and have issues involving child support, timesharing or custody.
Once paternity is established, mothers can petition the court to initiate child support payments and reimbursement for certain birth expenses. If a child is two years or older, the court will require a father to pay what he would have had he been making payments for the last two years.
In addition to child support, the following benefits are also a function of paternity:
- Inheritance rights, rights to father’s Social Security disability or death benefits, coverage under father’s health insurance plan, and dependency claims for tax purposes.
Establishing paternity provides fathers with the following parental rights:
- Visitation and timesharing, custody rights in certain situations, and the right to challenge an adoption, the right to a paternity test.