If the mother is not married at the time of having a child, and the boyfriend and her do not mutually agree that he is the father, the child does not have a legal father and the mother is considered the sole legal parent. While the mother may have options for seeking financial relief from the Court, it is important to note that a financial obligation alone does not determine rights of timesharing and parental responsibility. Many individuals who are subject to Department of Revenue (“DOR”) actions are dismayed by this concept. A parent must establish paternity to ensure that not only are the financial needs of the child protected, but also the emotional and psychological need of having two participating parents.

Paternity cases require that the father either acknowledge paternity or obtain genetic testing to establish paternity. If a court action is needed to order the alleged father to a court hearing and mandate the genetic test, it is called a Judicial Paternity Order.

Once paternity is established, either by acknowledgment or genetic testing, the financial obligations of the parties will be identified as well as a parenting plan entered for establishing a routine timesharing schedule and determination of parental responsibilities between the parents, such as decision-making.