Paternity Issues

When do paternity issues arise?

Paternity issues arise when there is a legal issue over who the biological father of the child is. A paternity action (or “parentage” action) can be filed by either the father or mother of a child.

How can paternity be determined?

There are two ways to establish paternity – either voluntarily or through a court action.

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the hospital personnel must provide the parents (if both are present) with a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. If both parents sign the declaration, paternity is established. The father’s name can then be added to the child’s birth certificate.

If paternity is not established voluntarily, any of the following persons or agencies may initiate a court action to establish paternity: the mother, the man who believes is the child’s father, the local child support agency, or an adoption agency.

What can you do if you believe that you are not the biological father of the child?

If you are not sure you are the biological father of the child, you must request a DNA test to find out whether you are the father of the child.