Q: My boyfriends childrens mother filed for health benefits and he is now being ordered to test for paternity/child support
Will it be more beneficial for him to go to court and establish a custody agreement? Is there a chance he could receive full custody if he has a full time job/place to live/clean record?
A: Generally, the State of Nebraska initiates child support actions if a parent seeks state benefits and no support is in place. Once that case is opened, if there is no custody/parenting time order and he would like to have one, he will want to make sure the mother is added as a party and file an Answer to State's Complaint and a Cross-Complaint for the issues of parenting all within the same case for court efficiency and because the parenting time can affect the amount of support in certain circumstances. Whether he receives parenting time, or joint or full custody is going to be dependent on a whole long list of case-specific factors. He will want to confidentially consult with an experienced family law attorney about the specific situation he and his children have in order to know his options and get advice for his specific situation. Best wishes as your family navigates through this!
If the parent has joint physical custody of the children or wants sole or joint physical custody of the children, the parent will need to put the custody/parenting time at issue if he wants to argue that he should pay no child support or reduced child support due to the amount of time the children spend with him. Further, if he wants the court order to include a specific parenting time schedule, he needs to put the custody/parenting time at issue.
This is generally done by filing an answer and counter complaint to add the custody and parenting time issues to the child support action. If the mother is not technically a party to the child support case, he would also need to ask the Court to add her as a party. Once he has added the custody and parenting time issues to the court case, he will need to serve the other party with his counter complaint and follow the steps needed to move forward with a custody case. This generally includes taking a required parenting class, setting the matter for a temporary hearing, creating affidavits for the temporary hearing, and doing mediation with the other party, among other steps.
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