Paternity cases involve many, but not all, of the same issues that arise in a divorce case where the parties have children together except that the identity of the father must also be established. These issues are:
- Paternity (Identity of the Father)
- Child Custody
- Child Support
Unlike a divorce action there can be no claim in the paternity case for property division or spousal support. Identity of the father is typically established by consent (i.e. both parties officially agree that alleged father is in fact the father of the child). If there is no agreement regarding custody then the District Court hears evidence from both parties regarding their requests for custody of the child and then makes a decision granting custody to either of the parties or to both jointly. The custody order issued will also determine when and how the parents will exercise parenting time (i.e. visitation) with the children.
The Court also hears evidence regarding the incomes of the parents and issues an order for support of the child establishing each party's financial obligations regarding cash support and medical support of the child.
From time to time paternity orders can be modified regarding custody, visitation, and support as the court sees fit based on the evidence provided by the parties.