Legal Representation In Paternity Actions
When a couple has a child outside of marriage, both parties have the same parental rights and parental responsibilities as if they were married. Yet child custody, visitation and child support can be complicated for unmarried parents, especially if their relationship was rocky or short-term and they must now adjust to the realities of co-parenting.
My name is Elaine Smith-Koop, a family law attorney with more than 25 years of legal experience. I have represented both mothers and fathers in paternity cases. I will explain your rights and your obligations under Oregon law, and help you work through these issues. If necessary, I will aggressively represent you in court to protect your parental rights and your child’s well-being.
My Salem law firm, Elaine D. Smith-Koop, LLC, serves clients in Marion County, Polk County and Yamhill County, and nearby counties of the Willamette Valley.
Marion County Attorney For Fathers’ Rights
And Child Support Orders In Oregon Paternity Cases
Genetic testing will quickly resolve any dispute about who fathered the child; the man can volunteer to take a DNA test or the court can order one. The next step is filing a petition with the court to establish paternity. Once a man is legally recognized as the father:
- The mother can seek an order for child support, including retroactive child support. If the father refuses to honor his obligation, we can pursue contempt of court proceedings and collection remedies such as wage garnishment or tax liens.
- The father can seek parenting time (visitation) or joint custody. If he has not previously been involved with the child, the court may start with supervised visits and “step up” over time to regular visitation and shared parenting. If the mother interferes with his parental rights, she can be held in contempt of court. If she attempts to relocate with the child, I can help obtain a restraining order.
Even when unmarried parents are open to cooperation, they have the same child-rearing disputes as parents who married and divorced. As your lawyer, I can help you work out the details of a parenting plan that is practical for you and healthy for your child. If negotiations break down, I can advocate effectively for you in the courtroom.