It is important to formally establish parentage in order to preserve a parent’s legal right to have access to the children (i.e. custody and visitation) as well as the child’s right to receive financial support from a parent (i.e. child support). Parentage needs to be established when children are born to parents who are not married at their birth or when children are raised by a parent who acknowledges them as her or her own.
Parentage might be agreed to outside of court and issues such as custody and support maybe settled via Negotiation, Mediation or the Collaborative process. Parentage might also be contested in court, in front of a judge. Each parentage case is different and requires careful assessment by an experienced attorney, whether that attorney is representing you or serving in a consulting role.