The first stage is establishing who the parents of the minor child are.  Establishing paternity is a prerequisite for the establishment of child support. Paternity means fatherhood: legally naming the father of the child. 

If the parents are married, there can be a presumption of paternity.  Paternity determined through CSEA is called administrative determination of paternity. 

When both parents agree as to who is father, there is an acknowledgment of paternity. 

Additionally, paternity can be administratively determined after genetic testing is performed.  When parties do not agree as to who is father, CSEA will administer genetic testing.  An inclusive result or positive outcome will determine fatherhood. 

If paternity is challenged administratively, a case will be filed in court to determine paternity.  Either the matter will be set for hearing to challenge prior determination of paternity or the court may order a previously reluctant alleged father to cooperate with genetic testing.

Finally, paternity can be established at the hospital upon birth of the child.  If both parties sign the “Paternity Affidavit” in the hospital and the form is properly notarized, and no party objects the affidavit will become a legal document and establish paternity. 

Establishing Child Support Orders

The duty to pay child support is an order either established administratively or judicially. 

An administrative order can be established at the county CSEA.  A judicial order is established by the court.    The amount to be paid by the non-residential parent/s is determined from guidelines that are developed for the purposes of child support.

The guidelines are in the form of a worksheet.  This worksheet is double columned with blanks to be filled in as to income, adjustments to income and other financial consideration of each parent.  The appropriate amount of child support to be paid is calculated.  The resulting figure is adopted by either the agency or the court as the ordered child support to be paid monthly. 

Both parents are responsible for the health care needs of the child.  Child support orders will have two components: the child support to be paid and whether medical support needs to be paid. 

If the parent/s have health insurance in place and the child is named as a covered dependent medical support will most likely not be ordered.  If, however, health insurance is not available at a reasonable cost and the children do not have health insurance coverage, medical support payments will also be ordered.