Knowing who a child’s father is will put questions to rest that could potentially last a lifetime otherwise. It also comes with many legal benefits for you and your child, mainly the payment of child support.
But, not everyone knows how to go about establishing paternity.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to establish paternity.
So… How Do I Do It?
In many cases, the child’s birth father is unwilling to voluntarily establish paternity. Other times, the suspected father is unable to be successfully contacted.
So, it’s up to the mother to pursue paternity establishment.
Your local Office of Child Support Enforcement has all the resources you need in order to do so. After meeting with them, they’ll contact various governmental agencies (like the IRS and Social Security Administration) for assistance in locating the alleged father.
Once he is found, he is then given the opportunity to voluntarily claim paternity. If he doesn’t choose to acknowledge this, the mother, alleged father, and child all submit DNA for genetic testing.
Afterward, the results will conclude whether not the accusation is true. If the alleged father’s DNA indicates that the child is indeed his, he has 60 days to contest the results and request another examination.
If he doesn’t choose to contest the results, though, legal paternity is then established after 60 days.
If the second DNA exam also indicates that the alleged father is the biological parent of the child, then paternity is also established.
You can learn more about DNA paternity testing here.
What If The Father Is Willing to Acknowledge Paternity?
Occasionally, an alleged father will have no issue with claiming the child. This is especially true if they already suspected they were the father.
There are two separate ways for this process to be completed.
Being Present For The Birth
If the alleged father is present during the birth of your child, then he can sign a legal document called a Declaration of Paternity. Depending on your state, though, it may also be called ‘Acknowledgement of Paternity’ paperwork.
Completing a Paternity Affidavit
It’s not uncommon for a father’s identity to be suspected after the birth of the child. At this point, the father can voluntarily complete a paternity affidavit before the child turns 18 years old.
If you would later like to have the father’s name added to your child’s birth certificate, you can apply to do so through the hospital where they were born.
Knowing How to Establish Paternity Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about how to establish paternity in mind, you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the many benefits that it provides for you and your family.
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