Establish Legal Fatherhood
When a child is born to parents who are not married to each other, no legal bond exists between the child and father until legal fatherhood, also called paternity, is established.
Parents may establish legal fatherhood through three ways:
- A simple and inexpensive acknowledgment process completed through Vital Statistics.
- When the parents were married to each other at the time of birth or conception.
- A court order establishing legal fatherhood. All orders created by Child Support Services contain information about the legal fatherhood of a child.
If parents do not wish to sign an acknowledgment, you may request that Child Support Services refer your case to a Child Support Services attorney. You may request genetic testing be included in the order established by Child Support Services. If genetic testing results determine fatherhood, Child Support Services asks a court to establish a legal father and order child support.
If an individual refuses to comply with the order and take a genetic test, additional court actions can be pursued to establish paternity through default or through contempt of court. Child Support Services may also ask the court to include costs associated with genetic tests and legal fees be paid by the legal father in the order.
You may choose to use a private attorney help you through the legal process of establishing fatherhood. If you do, notify Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868 so that we can coordinate our efforts.