If you are the mother of a child born out of wedlock and you are seeking child support then you need to file a Petition for Paternity and Child Support. If you are the father of a child born out of wedlock and you are seeking to gain custodial rights, then you need to file a Petition for Legitimation, Custody, Visitation and Child Support.
Prepare your Pleadings
Both of the above Petitions will require you to file a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit, Child Support worksheet and Parenting Plan in addition to your initial Pleadings. You must demonstrate to the Court that it is in the best interest of child for you to be granted custodial rights if you are the father. You must demonstrate that you are a fit and capable parent.
File Your Pleadings and Serve the Opposing Party
It is extremely important that you consult an attorney to at least review your Pleadings before you file them with the Court. It would be best that the Attorney prepared the Pleadings if possible. Once filed, you will need to serve the opposing party with the papers that you filed and have proof of service to file with the clerk's office. A Sheriff's Entry of Service form can be obtained at your local county superior court.
Get a DNA Test
There are many facilities that take DNA tests, and you can expect to pay between $400 - $600 to have the test completed. You want to go ahead and start the process of getting your own DNA tested, and then ask the Court to compel the opposing party to provide the child's DNA if the other party is not cooperating. You can greatly increase the chances of your Petition for Legitimation to be granted, If you have DNA proof that you are the biological father of a child and you have a Parenting Plan to submit to the Court regarding the specific visitation provisions that you would like the Court to implement.
Get your Final Order of Legitimation
The final step is to get a Final Order from a Judge granting your Legitimation. There are a number of different ways to get a Final Order, and you should consult an Attorney with your specific facts to get counsel on what the best route is for you to take.