Paternity Suit Can Establish Child Support and Custody
Justin Bieber, the 17-year-old pop star, is in the midst of a scandal: A 20-year-old California woman named Mariah Yeater has filed a suit claiming he fathered her 4-month-old son in a brief encounter at an L.A. concert. Bieber denies having met her at all and vows to take a paternity test upon his return from Europe where he performed on the MTV Europe Awards Show. His denials have only fueled the non-stop coverage of the case.
If he does take a paternity test he will be making the smart move. If he is the father, he is stepping up to take responsibility. If he is not the father his direct approach to the scandal will increase the pop star’s “cred” as a good guy. For a star like Bieber there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and he clearly has the means to support a child…or crush his accuser with legal action if she is lying.
****UPDATE**** Beiber took the Paternity Test on Friday, November 18, 2011 in New Jersey
For the average person, a paternity case can be a big problem or a disaster. If the encounter was a “hook up” and the result is a baby, then two people who might not be particularly suited to working together are going to be legally associated for the next twenty-one years. Like almost all aspects of family law cooperation between the father and mother is ideal and leads to the fairest situations. However, the reality is that many paternity actions are fraught with emotion and characterized by a lack of cooperation.
There are three basic steps in a paternity case: 1. Establishing paternity 2. Establishing the obligation to support the child. 3. Enforcement of the child support order.
To establish paternity in a contested case the mother or father can file a court pleading seeking an order acknowledging that an individual is the father. Although most often filed by the mother, sometimes a father files a paternity action when the mother refuses to allow the father access to the child. The court can order an unwilling respondent in a paternity case to take a blood test to determine if he is the father.
If the Respondent admits to being the parent, but the parties cannot resolve the issues on their own, the court will make orders for custody and visitation. If the parties cannot agree on custody, the court will have a hearing. Once custody and visitation are resolved, the parties exchange information about their incomes. The court then makes orders for child support. Those orders become the judgment and the case is concluded.
If the Respondent denies that he is the parent of the child, the court will order genetic testing (a dna test). If the paternity test proves that Respondent is the parent, the court makes order for child support, child custody, and child visitation, in the manner set forth above, a judgment for paternity is entered, and the case is concluded.
Even after the case is concluded, either parent can return to court to request the orders be changed. The court will determine whether there is a reason to modify the original paternity orders concerning child custody, child visitation, and child support. This is called a modification proceeding and usually requires a showing of a change of circumstances.
The fair amount of support that the non-custodial parent must pay is determined by state child support statutes which provide for a fairly complicated mathematical formula which takes into account the income of the parents to determine support. The support order can be enforced through the courts using a private attorney or by using California Department of Child Support Services.
If you have a child and the father will not help care for the child we can help. If you have been served with a paternity claim, and you don’t believe you are the father we can help.