Establishing Paternity

Paternity establishment is the legal determination of fatherhood. The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) can assist with establishing paternity when there is not an existing final and enforceable determination of paternity. A final enforceable determination of paternity exists when a court or administrative order has been issued determining that a man is the father of a child or 60 days have passed since an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit has been signed. A support order cannot be issued until paternity has been established.

IF you are interested in requesting paternity establishment for your child, complete an application to request our services.

Ways to establish paternity:

Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit:
This form is made available at the hospital to unwed mothers when the child is born. The mother must not have been married within 300 days of the date of birth to be able to complete this form. The biological father and mother must both complete the form and their signatures need to be notarized. This form is the voluntary way for both parents to admit to being the child’s biological parents.

Genetic Testing:
Genetic testing is conducted with buccals swabs. Skin cells are collected from the inside of the mouth with cotton swabs. When the resulting tests show that there is a 99% or greater probability that the man is the father, paternity will be established.

A man is presumed to be the father of a child if the parties were married at the time of the child’s birth or if the child was born within 300 days after death, divorce, or dissolution. The mother, the presumed father or another man alleging himself to be the father of the child may request genetic testing in this situation.

Benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • Inheritance rights
  • Access to medical history
  • Right to collect veteran’s and Social Security Benefits