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If the mother and father of a child were not married to each other when the child was born, then paternity must be legally established before the court can make any orders regarding child custody or child support.
If there is already a child support order in place, which was obtained by the Department of Health and Welfare, then paternity has already been done for you. Be aware however, that the Department of Health and Welfare can only obtain an order for the child's financial and medical support, but they are never allowed to establish and/or modify any orders regarding the custody or visitation of children.
If paternity has not already been established, then you will need to file a Petition (request) for a court order establishing paternity. For information on the rules governing the proceedings to establsih paternity, see Title 7, Chapter 11 of Iaho Code. There does not have to be a paternity test, if both parents signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity. This is normally done at the hospital shortly after the child is born, however it can be done at any time after the child was born. If this was not done, and either parent refuses to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity, then the other parent can just assert in a Petition that he, or the other party, is the natural father. If this assertion is not formally denied, the court will declare such person is the legal father. If the assertion is disputed, then a paternity test will be ordered.
Unfortunately, establishing paternity does not automatically create or confer any legal or physical custody rights, it is merely a precursor to petitioning the court to establish those rights. On the other hand, our court-ready documents will establish both Paternity and Custody in the same Petition, and at no additional cost... so, go ahead and click on this to get started, or click on the Custody tab above.
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