How is Paternity Established?
The first step is to gather the facts at a paternity interview with the Child Support Division. Understandably, many of the questions during the interview may be personal and are strictly confidential. These questions will include details about the relationship between the mother and the alleged father, the pregnancy, the birth of the child, any history of violence between the mother and alleged father, and the mother’s employment and birth expenses. A photograph of the alleged father with the child is helpful as well as any other evidence of acknowledgment of the child, such as through letters or gifts.
Before a child support order can be established for a child, the alleged father must either admit or be proven to be the child's father. An In Hospital Paternity Affidavit is the first method for establishment of paternity. If there is no such Affidavit, the alleged father may request and pay for a DNA Paternity Test. DNA Paternity Testing cannot be conducted until payment is received from the alleged father. Our office prepares all of the necessary paperwork and legal documents and handles all of the scheduling for DNA Paternity Testing when the alleged father requests or when ordered by the court.
The father can voluntarily acknowledge his paternity by signing a written admission or consent agreement, but it is best to perform a DNA Paternity Test or have a factual determination made by the court. While it is best to establish paternity soon after the child's birth, our office is bound to try to establish paternity for any child up to the child's eighteenth birthday.
Our office does not provide DNA Paternity Testing to anyone merely seeking to learn whether or not they are the father of a child. In cases where a father wishes to establish paternity he may not request DNA Paternity Testing as a condition before being ordered to pay child support. Putative non-custodial fathers will be required to pay child support upon a finding of paternity by the court. DNA Paternity Testing will only be conducted by order of the court upon a finding that the mother cannot name the putative father as the legal and biological father of the child.
The establishment of paternity affords your child legal rights and privileges that belong to any child born within a marriage. Among these are rights to inheritance, rights to the father's medical and life insurance benefits, and to social security and veteran's benefits which may be available.