How To Establish Paternity

Men aren’t guaranteed parental rights when a child is born out of wedlock.Paternity needs to be established in order to handle issues such as child support.It can be a matter of just signing a form.In some cases, a DNA test is required to establish the father’s identity.

Step 1: Understand the reasons for having a child.

The child is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife if they have a child during marriage.There is no presumption of who the father is if the child is born to unmarried parents.Paternity is important in a variety of situations.Financial support, access to family medical records, medical and life insurance coverage, if available social security or veteran’s benefits, are some of the things that must be established in order to be the father of a child.

Step 2: The person needs to sign the birth certificate.

Federal law requires all states to offer unwed parents an opportunity to establish a relationship by signing an acknowledgement of their child’s father.Before leaving the hospital if the baby’s father is present, he can sign the birth certificate.

Step 3: You should not sign unless you know you are the father.

You will be responsible for child support payments until you can prove that you are not the father.It can be difficult to get a divorce.Depending on where you are in the country, you will either have to fill out a form or petition the court.California has a form called a Declaration of Paternity Rescission.You have 60 days to sign the Declaration of Paternity.Texas residents have to file a Rescission of Acknowledgement of Paternity form with 60 days after a court case about the child is started.

Step 4: The form can be found.

If the father doesn’t put his name on the child’s birth certificate, the mother and father should make a statement about it.To find the form, type in your state into a web browser.You can request a form from the Department of Health in your state.A typical form is from Arizona.There is a time limit for filing a statement.As soon as possible, you should do it.

Step 5: An informal document should be prepared.

Informal document establishing paternity can be prepared if your state does not have a form.It should have the names of the parents, the place of birth and the child’s name.Signing the document will have it notarized.If your state doesn’t provide for a formal process, create an informal document.

Step 6: Go ahead and file the statement.

You need to sign the form in front of someone.Copies should be made for mother and father after signing the form.The Department of Health in your state is the place to file the form.Many banks and courthouses have notaries.You will need a valid passport or driver’s license to establish your identity.The father’s signature acts as a substitute for a court order, officially establishing his paternal relationship with the child.

Step 7: Understand the different types of tests.

There are two types of DNA tests, a buccal swab and a blood test.Both tests are accurate.A cotton swab is rubbed on the inside cheeks of the mouth in order to collect saliva.The man’s blood is drawn and then tested.The most common buccal tests yield results in a few days.

Step 8: You can choose a testing facility.

There is no federal oversight of the facilities.You will need to choose a facility based on its accreditation and promised service.Do you know if the lab is accredited?The accreditation agencies themselves should be contacted instead of relying on the lab’s statement.You can search for accredited labs by going to the American Association of Blood Banks.There is a list of accredited blood banks here.The number of genetic sites on the DNA tested increases the accuracy of the tests.The lab should guarantee that it will continue testing until either (1) can exclude you as the father or (2) can guarantee with more than 99% accuracy that you are the dad.

Step 9: You have to pay for the test.

The costs can be different if the lab is accredited or not.For a standard test, quotes run from $395 to over $500.Some state child welfare agencies will pay for some of the testing fees.If this is an option, you should contact your state welfare agency.

Step 10: The appropriate court should be found.

You can get a court order compelling the father to take the test if he doesn’t want to.The court in the county where the child lives is where you will have to file a complaint.If you have a question about where to file, you can contact a family law attorney at the courthouse in the county where you live.In California, your local child support agency can initiate a suit against you.You can find your county’s agency by using the interactive map.

Step 11: You can draft a complaint.

Many states have pre-printed forms for you to fill out.You need to fill out a form and get a summons from the court clerk.Different forms are used in different states.The appropriate forms should be asked of the court clerk.There are three forms called “Petition to Establish Parental Relationship” in California.In Texas, you will need to fill out a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage and a Motion for Genetic Testing and Notice of Hearing.

Step 12: Notices be served on the other parent.

You need to make copies after you have completed your forms.You should make at least 1 copy for the father and 2 copies for your records.The original and copies should be taken to the court clerk.If you want your copies stamped, file the original with the clerk.You may have to send blank forms for the father to fill out.You should ask the clerk what forms you have to send.You can serve the papers on the father using the sheriff.Unless you fill out a fee waiver form, you will be charged a small fee.A professional process server can make personal service on the father in many states.Service by mail is allowed in some states.This is less reliable than personal service.

Step 13: You should file your proof of service.

Once the sheriff or the process server makes service, he or she will fill out a “Proof of Service” form.You have to file the proof with the court.

Step 14: Attend the hearing.

The father will either deny or accept parentage.The court will review the evidence if he denies parentage.You can get a default judgment if the father doesn’t respond.You will have to fill out some forms.The appropriate forms should be asked of the court clerk.If the father wants to contest parentage, he will have to go to court.