Petitions to Establish a Parental Relationship-Paternity Actions
Petitions to Establish a Parental Relationship,  formerly know as Paternity actions, are filed in situations where parties who are parents together,  never married,  and one of the parents is seeking support, custody, or a determination of parentage.   Either party, the mother or the father, may file a Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship.   As in divorce proceedings in which the parties were married, child support obligations cannot be waived in situations in which the parties were never married.   Parents are legally obligated to support their children,  regardless of their marital status.  Likewise, both parents are entitled to make decisions regarding their child's welfare,  and to share in the custody and raising of their children, once there has been a determination of paternity.
Modernly, paternity can be established with certainty through DNA testing. There are also statutory presumptions of paternity in certain situations.  For instance, when a father has taken a child into his home and has held the child out as his own for a certain period of time, there is a presumption that he is the father.   A presumption also arises when a father signs a voluntary declaration of paternity.

As in divorce proceedings, parties to a paternity action may settle the issues of custody and support and enter into a stipulated judgment, outside of court.  Thus, the issues may be finalized by simply submitting the appropriate paperwork to the court.  Again, this is in everyone's best interest because they save on costs and attorneys fees involved in litigation, and they maintain control over the course of their lives.  However, when the parties are unable to reach an agreement, I am prepared to go into court and aggressively advocate on my client's behalf.