When two individuals have a child or children together, it can be great. However, occasionally for one reason or another, couples may decide to end their relationship. Ordinarily, this might be difficult on its own merits, but when children are involved, it can add a whole new universe of issues that have to be handled. When it gets to this point, one of the individuals may seek an allocation of parental responsibilities or “APR” through the courts. To further add complexity to these cases, there occasionally will be uncertainty as to the identity of the father, or an interjection from another man (or men) claiming to be the true biological father. This brings us to the topic of this article, paternity vs apr and the differences.
Most people have heard of paternity actions, or have at least some notion as to what a paternity action might entail. For many people, the term “paternity” might bring about visions of Maury Povich and the phrase, “You ARE/AREN’T the father!” While this is a simplistic caricature of paternity actions, it gives us a starting point. The purpose of a paternity action is that it provides a basis upon which a court (and possible fathers) may make a determination as to the identity of a child’s father.
When a paternity action is commenced, all presumptive fathers and all alleged fathers must be provided notice. As the case progresses, the court will consider various pieces of evidence and testimony to determine the identity of the father. If there are two or more presumptive fathers, the court will weigh which presumption is founded upon weightier considerations of policy and/or logic. Alternatively, genetic testing may also assist the court in making a determination.
There are a few distinct characteristics found within a paternity action not otherwise existent in an APR action. For example, in a paternity action, a mother may be able to recover costs associated with medical procedures incurred as a result of labor/birthing. In an APR action, such costs aren’t necessarily recoverable. Furthermore, in a paternity action, a mother may be able to seek retroactive child support from a man determined to be the father of the child. In contrast, child support in an APR case may only be awarded as to the date upon which the petition was filed. Therefore, there can be significant financial exposure to possible fathers, especially if a paternity action is not commenced shortly after a child’s birth.
Allocation of parental responsibilities case is different than a paternity case. In a paternity case, there is some question as to the identity of the father. In an APR case, there is not a question as to the identity of the father. Rather, in these cases, two people acknowledged being parents of a child seek intervention from the court in determining parental responsibilities. In these cases, the court will be looking to consider the best interests of the child(ren) and will allocate parenting time and decision-making accordingly. Inevitably, as a result of the allocation of parenting time, the court will also likely enter a child support order, requiring one parent to pay the other. As noted above, the difference in an APR case is that the court only has jurisdiction to compel back child support as to the date of filing the petition.
If there is a question as to the identity of the father, or if you maybe are concerned that a child may not be your own, a paternity action may be appropriate. If you have questions regarding Paternity vs APR, or any questions about family law, take the time to consult with a lawyer. At Modern Family Law, we specialize in family law and we provide free consultations with our team of family law attorneys. So give us a call today for a free consultation to see how we can help you.
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