Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Here are a few examples of why you should consider establishing paternity for your
Self Esteem – Generally children respond better when given love and support
from both parents. Also, when paternity is established, the father’s name is listed
on the birth certificate, which provides your child with a complete birth record.
Shared Parenting – Parenting is the responsibility of both the father and
the mother. Early paternity establishment may lead to increased involvement of the
father in the child’s life. Once a legal relationship is established the father
is more likely to maintain his own relationship with his child over the long-term.
Medical History – Today there are many medical advancements and it is important
to have a complete medical history. A child is more likely to have a complete history
if paternity is established. Knowing the family’s medical history is important for
children and their physicians, particularly relating to genetic traits, histories
of diseases or conditions that may present any special health problems. In case
a child or parent needs a donor for a transplant, knowing who the members of the
immediate family are is critically important.
Important Rights – When paternity is established, the father has the same
rights as a father of a child born in a marriage. These include such rights as the
ability to address visitation and custody with the court, and to give input regarding
decisions that impact the child. In the unfortunate instance that the father dies
or is permanently disabled, having a legal father ensures benefits for the child,
such as medical or insurance benefits, inheritance, Social Security, disability,
or veteran’s benefits.
Secure Adoptions – By establishing a legal relationship, a father ensures
himself of having rights. Paternity establishment assures that the biological father
can decide if his child may be adopted.
For more information, you can
the Department of Justice Paternity and Child Support Division.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I establish paternity through a voluntary process?
It's simple! If you are unmarried, anytime after delivery of the child but before
the child's 18th birthday and before the death of either parent, the mother and
father can sign a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity stating
the father is the biological parent. The parents must provide a photo ID and sign
in the presence of a Notary.
Where do I get the form?
You can get a Paternity Acknowledgement form at a:
- Hospital or birthing center
- Office of Vital Statistics
- Local Health Centers
- Department of Justice / Paternity and Child Support Division
If we establish paternity, will child support enforcement be a part of our life?
No, not unless the mother applies for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
services will the case be referred to PCSD where she will be required to cooperate
by identifying the father; or if either party applies for services with our office.
How does signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity affect my child's birth
If you are unmarried at the time of your child's birth, the biological father's
name will not be included on the child's birth certificate unless both parents complete
the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VAOP). If you and the biological
father are unable to execute VAOP at the time of delivery you may obtain a form
from any of the previously listed locations. The form must be completed by both
parties and notarized.