About Establishing Legal Fatherhood
Establishing legal fatherhood is an important way for a mother and father to show love and commitment to their child. This legal bond is important to families, even when parents do not live together.
- When a child is born to parents who are married to each other, the mother’s husband is automatically considered the child’s legal father.
- If your husband or former husband is not the father of your child, contact Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868 to discuss options to pursue child support from the biological father.
In Idaho, when legal fatherhood is established, the father is listed on a child’s birth certificate.
Either parent can ask Child Support Services to help establish legal fatherhood.
Benefits of legal fatherhood
- Having a mother and father who love them helps children build healthy self-esteem and a sense of identity.
- Children may build relationships with maternal and paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives.
- Both parents can help make important decisions about how their child is raised.
- Access to both biological parents’ medical records may be important if a child inherits a medical condition.
- If a parent dies or becomes disabled, the child may be eligible for financial benefits (Social Security, life insurance, inheritance benefits, etc.)
- Parents may share the expense and experience of raising their child, even if they do not live together.
How to acknowledge legal fatherhood
When the father of the child is not listed as the father on a birth certificate, contact the Vital Statistics agency in the state where the child was born for instructions to establish paternity.