2. Establishing Obligation to Support the Child
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 the respondent is the parent, the court makes an 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.
3. Enforcement of the Child Support Order
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 that takes into account the income of the parents to determine support.