Paternity in the United States

Paternity in Alabama

When a child is born outside wedlock a paternity test establishes that child?s legal rights. Having a legal father means that child is entitled to veterans benefits, social security benefits and inheritance from that father. It also gives a child access to their family medical history. A mother or potential father can initiate paternity testing at anytime before a child reaches the majority age of 19.

Children born to married couples automatically have a legal father in the husband of their mother. The husband is assumed the father unless otherwise established through legal channels. Children born to unmarried mothers need to establish paternity. If a parent wants proof a biological connection DNA testing can provide that proof. The DNA test can exclude or include a person as a child?s biological father. This is one way you establish paternity and the results can be used as evidence in a court of law to establish legal parentage.

In Alabama the state uses three methods for establishing paternity: 1. Both parents can sign an Affidavit of Paternity. They can do this before or after they leave the hospital.This establishes that both parents agree to the paternity of a child. It must be notarized. Once it is filed it is considered legal and child support and custody can be decided based on it. All hospitals are required to offer an Affidavit of Paternity to unwed mothers.

  1. The administrative process gives the State department of Human Resources the authority to order genetic testing. This avoids a court hearing.

  2. The contested judicial process occurs when one parent denies paternity so a court orders genetic testing.

Paternity in Arizona

What is Paternity?

Paternity is biological fatherhood. Legally both parents of a child have the responsibility to raise that child. In most cases establishing a child?s mother is easy, but in many proof may be required to identify a child?s father. When a man admits paternity he is automatically assuming the responsibility of raising that that child. If he denies paternity he or the child?s mother can file a paternity suit. Once paternity is established he will be required to reimburse any pregnancy expenses, child birth expenses and pay child support. DNA testing provides conclusive proof of paternity.

Establishing Paternity

Until more recent years establishing the paternity of a child conclusively wasn?t always possible. Back then a child?s mother needed other evidence to prove the man in question was in fact her child?s father. Now, DNA testing can determine a child?s parentage by nearly 100%. When paternity is established the father must pay child support and in some cases pregnancy and child birth expenses. If the man does not pay his wages can be garnished. his property can be taken and he may be required to serve jail time.

Legitimization and Paternity

If a child is born into a marriage he is automatically considered to be legitimate. Children born to unmarried parents need to prove legitimacy by establishing paternity. Once a child is considered legitimate the parents can establish child support, custody and visitation. The child is also entitled to either parents estate, inheritance or survivor benefits should they become deceased when the child is a minor.

Blood Test

Long ago they used to do blood test based on the seven blood types to determine parentage. However, this was not a conclusive method of establishing paternity. Children can only have the blood type that their father and mother?s blood type allows, but that does not cover for the fact that another potential father may have the same blood type as the potential father that is tested. The blood test of today are far more accurate. They compare the DNA profiles of the mother, child and potential father. However, to be accepted in a court of law a DNA test must be administered by a court approved laboratory.

Paternity in California

Paternity lawsuits give unmarried parents the ability to resolve issues of custody, support and visitation. When parentage is established it means the both parents of a child have been identified. The parentage action can be brought fourth by either party so they can establish a parental relationship in the eyes of the law. The fling party is known legally as the plaintiff and the other part as the defendant. The proceeding ends with a judgement once all the issues in the case have been decide and resolved. A judgement can be entered by default, agreement, or after trial.

The court can also issue temporary court orders in parentage actions. Once parentage is established issues of custody and support are handled in the same manner as they would in a dissolution hearing.

California law allows blood tests to be ordered in cases where parentage is in question. In such cases the mother, child and potential father must submit to testing. Any party that refuses is giving the court the power to find against their position in court.

Blood tests are not admissible in some cases. In certain situations parentage is presumed. For instance, if a mother is living with her husband when she conceives he is legally presumed to be the father of her child. Similarly if a father signs an acknowledgment of parentage willingly when a child is born the presumption is that he is the father. These presumptions can be rebutted if challenged within three years.

Paternity in Colorado

Paternity questions are often brought up in family law cases. Colorado law allows for various methods of establishing paternity when this occurs.

Evidence of Paternity Can Include:

Proof of sexual intercourse between the parties in question during the conception period

Expert opinion of the statistical probability of parentage based upon the length of the mothers pregnancy

Genetic test results in conjunction with other evidence

Medical evidence or anthropological evidence based upon test done by field experts

Any evidence relevant to a child?s paternity

Many forms of evidence can be utilized to prove paternity, but DNA testing is the most precise. Every person has a unique genetic blueprint that is passed own from their mother and father. That is why DNA can be used to determine biological relationships. To do this the DNA profiles of the mother, child and potential father must be compared. The testing can be as much as 99.99% accurate.

The law in Colorado allows any cases where paternity is an issue the opportunity to request or provide DNA evidence. This can be requested by mother, father or child. The court can order all parties to submit to DNA testing. The lab used must be accredited by the secretary of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.

DNA testing has become far less expensive in the past few years. It is considered as conclusive evidence by the courts. The advances in technology allow the testing to be done within days and some labs even make house calls to collect samples. Samples no longer need to be given in the form of blood. Most labs use a cheek swab now, which is much less invasive for small children.

If you have not yet established paternity in your family court case you should probably request genetic testing. This will determine paternity and resolve the issue. Once this is done the court can establish custody, visitation and child support.

Paternity in Delaware

Determining the father of a child means establishing legal paternity. This occurs when a child has parents that are unmarried at the time of his birth. In cases such as these the child?s father is not recognized by the law until legal paternity is established. Once paternity is established that child has the same legal rights as a child born to married parents. Those rights include:

Proof of your parental identity

Family medical history

Knowledge of biological parents

Insurance, both medical and life is applicable

Financial support including; child support, veteran?s benefits, social security, inheritance and military benefits

Parents have legal right once paternity is established including:

Child support

Custody and visitation

Legal decisions regarding child

You can easily establish legal paternity without court involvement. This can be done when both parents sign a Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity in or out of the hospital. If this does not work out legal paternity can also be established through court order.

## Paternity in Illinois ##

To collect child support you have to establish paternity first. Once you establish legal paternity a child has a claim to their father?s Social Security or veteran?s benefits, health insurance, pension or inheritance. This genetic link can also come in handy if a child needs a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

Methods of Establishing Paternity

Paternity can be establish at birth when both parents sign and acknowledgment of paternity during the hospital stay. Then, there is no court proceeding necessary or need to get a man?s name placed on a child?s vital records.

Voluntary acknowledgment can also be signed at the local registrar, vital records, a county clerk?s office. human services or child support enforcement. You can also complete the form at home with a witness and mail it to Illinois Department of Public Aid, Administrative Coordination Unit, 509 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701.

If a person is on public assistance they are required to cooperate with the establishment of paternity. The Department of Public Aid?s child support division will use an administrative process to establish paternity if the father named denies paternity with the mother?s consent. The named father has the right to a fair hearing if he should request one.

DNA testing is used when paternity is in question.

Paternity can be determined by default if the named father does not attend a court hearing, interview or he fails to show up for genetic testing.

Paternity can also be determined if the named father is announced in a newspaper.

Paternity can also be established during a court proceeding with a basic judicial process for any person not receiving public aid should they request a hearing.

Paternity in Louisiana

Under Louisiana law the father of a child born out of wedlock is not responsible for that child until legal paternity has been established. Legal paternity can be established through court proceedings or by legal acknowledgment of the father on an affidavit. Louisiana law requires that hospital staff provide unwed parents the opportunity to sign this affidavit after their baby is born. If the father refuses to sign this affidavit the Support Enforcement Services or District Attorney can file a paternity suit in order to establish legal paternity.

Before a father signs a affidavit acknowledging legal paternity they can request that DNA testing be done. The cost of DNA testing is divided by the three parties at the cost of $210 each. The state of Louisiana has two labs they contract with for their DNA testing. The labs have to either exclude a person as the father or establish legal paternity at 99.9% probability. This is the highest probability possible. The court encourages a potential father to request DNA testing before he signs the paternity acknowledgment.

Paternity in Maryland

Under Maryland law when a child is born to parents who are not married that child has no legal father. A legal father is not the same as a biological father. The legal father must be established through legal proceedings or legal acknowledgment. In some cases this may involve DNA testing. In Maryland DNA testing is done with a non-invasive swab of the cheek.

When your child is born you can immediately establish legal paternity by having the biological father acknowledge paternity on the birth certificate. He can do this by filling out a Affidavit of Parentage that confirms he is indeed the father of your child. You both need to sign this form. you can do this in the hospital immediately after your baby is born. If you wait until you leave the hospital you can still use this form to establish legal paternity, but both parties must sign the form in the presence of a notary public. You can get this form from the hospital, the Department of Social Services and the child support offices. This can be done at any through out your child?s life.

Once you sign this document it becomes legally binding after 60 days. Once the 60 days has passed this document can only be challenged in a court of law. However, until the court finds the document invalid the legal father named on the document is responsible for the child and their name remains on that child?s birth certificate. This document can be signed by a minor without the consent of their parent or guardian.

If your child?s biological father is not present the child support enforcement office can help you prove legal paternity. With your cooperation they will locate the alleged father. They will either have him sign the Affidavit of Parentage or have the court order a a paternity test. Establishing paternity is important for a number or reasons:

Paternity in Michigan

Michigan law allows paternity to be established through a number of different methods. Under Michigan law legal paternity can be established willingly through acknowledgment on legal documents or through court order. The need to establish custody occurs most frequently in cases when a child is born to unwed parents.

In Michigan the Plaintiff or person who filed the motion must provide the burden of proof. In Michigan the mother, father or Family Independence Agency can file a motion to establish legal paternity. This is done the family division of circuit court in the county where the child, mother or father resides. Legal paternity can be established from the time a mother is pregnant until the child reaches 18 years of age.

It is important to note that in Michigan a name appearing on a birth certificate does not automatically establish legal paternity. Often, DNA testing is used to establish paternity. DNA testing is done using a sample of the child, their biological mother and the potential father. this can be a tissue or blood sample. The samples are compared for matching genetic markers because a child inherits one half from their mother and the other from their father. In some cases a potential father can be directly excluded as the child?s biological father. However, if the potential father is a 99% match or greater legal paternity is established.

When legal paternity has been established an Order of Filiation is entered by the court. This order makes the father legally responsible for part of a child?s medical, birth, and cost of living expenses. These orders are enforced by Michigan?s Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act.

A child born out of wedlock has the legal right o be supported by both parents. It is possible to establish legal paternity without acknowledgment of paternity from the alleged father. In cases such as these the mother and child or a person acting in the child?s best interest can come to an agreement with the alleged father regarding the child?s financial support and custody. The court must then confirm that this agreement provides said child with reasonable support.

Paternity in Military

The military has legal assistance available for members who are involved in a paternity dispute or issue of child support and custody. If the child is illegitimate the potential father would be required to provide support when paternity is established through paternity proceedings. The father can either acknowledge the child willingly or participate in a court proceeding to establish paternity through testing.

The Army Regulation 608-99 ensures that members have legal guidance for paternity claims. This is because when paternity is established a child is entitled to financial support and government benefits as the child of a military member.

Paternity is established through the state and not through the military/ It can be done administratively or through a court proceeding. Statistics show that a majority of men acknowledge paternity through administrative proceedings.

There are however government agencies set-up to enforce child support orders and locate parents for establishing orders. They can garnish wages through a parents employer and or assets. These are state programs and information for the local offices can be found on the web-page for the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

When a child is born out of wedlock you must establish paternity to collect child support. A paternity proceeding will use evidence to determine if a potential father is indeed that child?s biological father. During this time either parent can ask for a DNA test. DNA test have evolved so paternity is established without a doubt.

If a mother has a child out of wedlock she can send a letter to the soldier or his commanding officer so that she can request support through an enforcement agency. This can also be done through divorce, annulment or spousal support or by a state welfare office.

Paternity in Nebraska

In Nebraska the law dictates that both parents are responsible for meeting a child?s financial and emotional needs. When a child is born to unwed parents paternity may be question by that child?s mother or father. In the event that paternity is question a paternity case can be brought fourth by either party.

The paternity case can resolve a number of issues including:

Generally, mothers file paternity cases in order to seek child support for their children. This may include the request for compensation of day care costs and health related costs as well. That said, paternity cases are also filed by fathers who are seeking to establish their legal paternal rights or want custody of their children.

Mothers seeking to establish legal paternity through the court need to understand that doing so does entitle the biological father to visitation of said child in most cases. Likewise, fathers seeking to establish legal paternity need to remember doing so does obligate them to financially support their child. In either instance a judge can court order child support, custody or visitation.

When legal paternity is in question the court will order that DNA testing be performed. The results of DNA testing are accurate, reliable and admissible in court. If DNA testing determines legal paternity or a alleged father willingly acknowledges legal paternity the court can establish child support, custody and visitation. The amount of support that a father is required to pay is based upon the Nebraska Child Support laws. These laws require the non-custodial parent to pay part of the child?s day care expenses, health expenses and cost of living.

Paternity in New Jersey

New Jersey law requires a mother or a man claiming to be the father to make an allegation of paternity before legal paternity can be established. Once the allegation is made the process of establishing paternity begins within 90 days of locating the alleged father. When there is more than one alleged father the Office of Support and Paternity Programs will proceed against all the named possible fathers. Once DNA testing establishes by more 95% that a man is not a child?s paternal father he can be excluded from any further legal proceedings.

The Office of Child Support and Paternity Programs does offer a voluntary acknowledgment program. This is called the Paternity Opportunity Program. This program allows a man to sign a Certificate of Parentage. This certificate is as good as a court order or judgement of paternity. This form can be signed in the hospital, local registrar offices or in court. To be added to the birth certificate after this document is signed a request must be made by both parents.

Before a alleged father signs a certificate of parentage he and the biological mother are notified of their rights the meaning of this document.

Either party may:

When either party refuses to sign the certificate , but no paternity complaint has been filed, no compliant needs to filed. In cases such as these DNA testing will be required. Requirements for genetic testing include:

New Jersey paternity law also states that a child born to married parents is the child of the mother;s husband unless otherwise disputed. The husband can deny paternity by signing an affidavit. The biological father and mother can then sign a certificate of parentage.

Paternity can be established even if the biological parents or parties in question are minors. If the alleged father is under the age os 18 and denies paternity a complaint can be filed against him in family court. In cases such a these the court will proceed using standard protocol for dealing with legal complaints against a minor.

Paternity in New York

When legal paternity is established a father is granted enforceable rights and responsibilities to his child. This legal paternity can be established in three ways:

Legal proceedings to establish paternity are held in family court. They begin when a party files a verified petition with the court. A legally married woman’s husband would be named as a party of the proceeding in most instances.

The parties in question will attend a court hearing, at that time they will have the option to confirm or deny paternity of the child in question. Confirming paternity means that no paternity testing will be done. Once a party confirms paternity through consent in court it is legally binding. This consent is difficult to refute later.

If the party named as the alleged father does not consent the court will order DNA testing. Even if the DNA test shows the probability of paternity it can still be disputed. In such cases a hearing will be held to examine the evidence further. If the probability of paternity is greater than 95% New York law presumes legal paternity. During the hearing a man must prove why this should not be the case.

It should be noted that DNA testing can never establish paternity by 100%. DNA testing is done through a chemical analysis that matches proteins. The amount of proteins that match determines a probability of parentage, but never at 100%. Although you can dispute DNA testing results it is difficult and expensive to do so.


In some cases a party may be denied the right of denying paternity. This is granted based on statements or behavior in the past. For instance, if a party consented to paternity previously he my be estopped from denying paternity in future hearings.

Statue of Limitations

New York state law allows the mother to establish paternity during and after her pregnancy, up until the child in question turns 21. After 21 years of age it can be established if support was paid or if paternity is acknowledged by the alleged father.

Paternity in Oklahoma

When a child is born to unwed parents a legal relationship between the child and the father is not assumed. Legal proceedings must take place to establish the legal paternity of the child. Before a court can order things like visitation, custody and child support the legal paternity must be established.

Paternity can be established through administrative court or district court. It can be initiated through the state of Oklahoma Department of Human Services. When the DHS initiate a paternity case the case plays out in administrative court. This court can establish paternity, order child support and decide on issues regarding child care and medical expenses.

Paternity can also be established in district court. District court can determine legal paternity and decide on all matters. This would include matters of custody, visitation, attorney fees, child support, medical and child care.

If you are served papers for a paternity suit you need to seek immediate legal representation. The events that takes place in the beginning of the paternity suit are crucial to the outcomes of the case. Failing to address a paternity suit from the beginning may have negative repercussions for your future and the future of your children.

It is important to understand your legal rights in a paternity case. Contact a lawyer immediately. If you lack adequate funds to seek individual legal representation you can take your court papers to a county legal aids office.

Paternity in Pennsylvania

Children born to unmarried parents in the state of Pennsylvania have no legally established relationship with their father. There are a number of methods that parents can use to establish paternity in Pennsylvania. There are many benefits to establishing legal paternity including:

Birth Certificate:

Before a child?s father can be displayed on their birth certificate paternity must be established.

Medical History:

A child?s father?s medical history may be pertinent to his or her own medical history. When legal paternity between a child and their father is established the child can have access to their father?s medical records.

Child Support:

Once legal paternity is established between a father and child the father will be required by law to pay child support and possibly provide medical insurance.

Social Security:

When legal paternity has been established the child is entitled to social security benefits in the event of the father?s death.


Legal paternity also establishes your child?s right to any estate inheritance of their father.

Life Insurance:

Legal paternity establishes your child?s right to life insurance benefits.

U.S. Military Benefits:

Legal paternity established between a member of the military and a child makes that child eligible for medical coverage, insurance benefits and a college education.

How does this benefit a child?

The welfare laws in the state of Pennsylvania require a mother to establish child paternity. The only exclusion of this is in cases of domestic violence or similar situations.

How to establish paternity?

Paternity can be established through voluntary acknowledgment or paternity testing.

Hospitals, Birthing Centers and County Assistance Offices

The forms necessary for establishing paternity through either volunteer or DNA can be obtained from any of these sources.

Why is establishing paternity important?

There are many reasons for establishing child paternity. First and foremost, statistics show that the father figure is an important role for children. Having a father figure may reduce the likelihood of a child becoming involved in drugs or crime.

Paternity can be established by contacting the Domestic Relations Office. They can help you file a petition to establish paternity and request child support. Compliance from the suspected father is not required.

The Domestic Relations Office will hold a support conference to allow the alleged father the chance to deny or acknowledge paternity. If he denies paternity a genetic test will be ordered. If he acknowledges it paternity is legally established at that time and a child support order is granted.

Paternity in Texas

Paternity tests are performed when either the mother or presumed biological father of a child questions or would like to prove paternity. Paternity test can also be sought by a child welfare department or the child themselves. In many circumstances a paternity test must be sought before a child reaches the age of 21.

Paternity can be established either jointly or separately from an order to seek child support. In some cases paternity testing is done in conjunction with other court hearings. For example, during a divorce hearing it may be necessary to establish child paternity. In paternity testing situations such as these it may be necessary for the child to have their own legal representation in the form of a Guardian Ad Litem.

When paternity testing is done in a legal forum certain parties must be named. The child, the child?s mother and the alleged father must be identified in the action. Any of the named parties can request a paternity test. The paternity test can be done through tissue or blood sample. However, in court the test must be done by a qualified professional in order for the results to be admissible.

In the event that the test excludes the named father as the biological father of the child, the court will accept this as concrete proof that person is not the father. If the paternity test concludes that there is a possibility the named father may be the biological father, but it is not conclusive the issue must be investigated further.

To establish paternity the court needs firm evidence that the named father is in fact the biological father. This evidence is gathered through testimony, paternity testing and the details surrounding the child?s conception. Once the court deems they have sufficient evidence proving a child?s paternity, paternity is then legally established.

Paternity in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin a father?s parental rights are not secure until legal paternity is established. This means that he has no right to enforce a visitation schedule or make legal decisions related to his child. In Wisconsin paternity can be established once a child is born.

Wisconsin law allows several ways to establish legal paternity:

Voluntary Acknowledgment This means that is you are married paternity is presumed unless otherwise disputed. If you are unmarried both parents can sign a documents acknowledging paternity and put the fathers name on a child?s birth certificate. This form can be obtained at the hospital, from a child support agency, or at the register of deeds office in your county. The Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form needs to be signed with a notary public present and filed with the Vital Records Office in Madison, Wisconsin.

Stipulations and Order this allows both parents to sign a legal agreement acknowledging legal paternity. This agreement must be filed with the county. This agreement can establish legal paternity, custody, visitation and child support. For this agreement to be legally binding it must be converted to a court order.

Contested Paternity Proceedings When two people can not agree on legal paternity one of them can file a summons and complaint. They may request that paternity testing be performed as part of the court process. The child support agency will initially cover the cost of paternity testing. However, if legal paternity is established with a high probability the court may require the father to reimburse all or some of the paternity testing expenses. Additionally, once legal paternity is established during these legal proceedings the court is required to decide on issues regarding custody, visitation and financial support as well.

Before the year 2000 Wisconsin law allowed child support to be paid retroactively to a child?s date of birth. This was true regardless of the child?s age when paternity proceedings began. Now, the law only allows a court to order retroactive payments from the cate when the paternity proceedings began. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Paternity Testing in Dallas

Where can I get a paternity test done in Dallas?

Here are a few links of paternal testing companies that offer their services of paternity testing in Dallas, Texas: