Friday, September 12, 2008

How to Acknowledge Paternity

Acknowledging paternity is establishing that you are the father of the child in question. It is important to establish paternity for several reasons including to give an identity to the child, inheritance rights for the child, government and medical benefits for the child, and for child support purposes. Here are a few ways to acknowledge legally binding paternity.

Sign a written document that says you are the father. Both the mother and the father must sign the document, notarize it, and file it with the court and state vital records office. Some courts have this document preprinted. Ask for the document that acknowledges paternity.

Establish paternity through a court proceeding. You will be called and the other persons who may be the father will be called. The judge will determine who the father of the child is. If no one shows up, then you have acknowledged paternity through default.

Marry the woman before the child is born. If a woman is married and then gives birth there is a legal presumption that the husband is the father of the child. Marry the mom before baby is born and you will be the legal father of the child.

Have paternity acknowledged through genetic testing. If the test comes back with certainty that you are the father, you have acknowledged paternity until you prove otherwise.

Contact your local district attorney's office or state's department of social services for further information and help with the process. Someone can either tell you step by step instructions to acknowledge paternity or can point you to someone who can.

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