This chronology is designed to provide the reader with a general idea of how the average paternity case proceeds. Each paternity action is a little different because of specific issues between which arise between the parents. To file a paternity case in California, one party must file a Petition in his/her local courthouse. The local courthouse in the Temecula and Murrieta areas of Riverside County, Ca is in Hemet.
The person who files the paternity petition is called the "Petitioner".The Petition is must then be served upon the other party. This party is called the "Respondent".The Respondent then has 30 days to file a Response with the court. The Response tells the court that the Respondent intends to participate in the paternity case. The court will require that he or she be notified of any upcoming court dates. If the Respondent fails to file a Response, the court will allow the Petitioner to have a paternity judgment for paternity entered without the Respondent's participation. This is called proceeding by "default."
If a Response is filed in the paternity case, the Respondent must either admit or deny that he or she is the child's parent. If the Respondent admits to being the parent, the parties exchange information about their property and incomes. The court makes orders for child support, child custody and visitation. Those orders become the judgment and the case is concluded. If the Respondent denies that he or she is the parent of the child, the court will order genetic testing (a dna test). If the paternity test proves that Respondent is the parent, the court makes order for child support, child custody, and child visitation, and the case is concluded.Sometimes the parents can voluntarily resolve all their issues through settlement. If a settlement is reached, the parties prepare a settlement agreement, which later becomes the Judgment and the case is concluded- without having to attend court.
After the case is concluded, either parent can return to court to request the orders be changed. The court will determine whether the is a reason to change the original paternity orders concerning child custody, child visitation, and child support. This is called a modification proceeding.