Establishing Parentage

A "legal parent" is one recognized by law as having all the rights and responsibilities or parenthood - including the responsibility to provide support.

NOTE: A person can be a "legal parent" without being the biological parent.

Before a person can be ordered to support a child, he or she must be recognized as the legal parent. The child support agency will review the circumstances of each case at time of opening to determine if court action is necessary to establish legal parentage. If parentage is an issue, a stipulation (agreement) to parentage will be sought and submitted to the court for judgment. If no stipulation is reached, a court action will be started, genetic tests will be taken if appropriate, and a trial will be held to request the issuance of a parentage and support judgment.

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