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When parties have children together and are unmarried and are no longer able to effectively parent as a couple or have differences that are too great to continue as a family unit then it may be necessary to establish parentage and request orders from the court regarding issues of custody, visitation and child support.
Before orders can be issued, a paternity action is filed to establish a parental relationship or parentage, along with an action for child custody and support so that orders can be obtained on behalf of the child, facilitating the ongoing levels of financial support and shared levels of custodial parenting time.
The parties will still need to have a final Paternity Judgment, which can incorporate the terms of a Stipulated Agreement and filed as part of the final Judgment package, but as a paternity action, and not a divorce case. These actions are necessary in order to obtain orders establishing paternity, which are essential prior to any other orders determining levels of custody and visitation, and/or child support.