The laws that help establish paternity often vary from state to state and can even be different based on whether or not the parents were married to one another. Since paternity plays such an important role in determining child support, it’s crucial to fully understand the different aspects the court considers when trying to establish the paternity of a child.

Determining Paternity if Parents are Unmarried

Many states determine paternity differently if the father and mother weren’t married when the child was born. The court system generally considers the following:

1. Declaration of Paternity
A declaration of paternity is signed by the baby’s father prior to both mother and child getting discharged from the hospital. Usually, the document is signed by the father within a couple of days following the birth.

2. Blood Testing
Whenever someone questions or contests paternity, a court can then order genetic testing in order to determine paternity based on the request of one of the parents or on the court’s own motion.

3. Father’s Name on Child’s Birth Certificate
The father’s name can be on the child’s birth certificate if the father:
• Appears in court and formally accepts paternity
• Voluntarily completes a declaration of paternity

4. Father has an Established Relationship with the Child
Many courts will take into consideration that an alleged father already has an established long-term relationship with the child. The longer the relationship, the better chance the “father” has for the court system to actually consider him as the real father.

Make sure you have all the necessary information and documents before you attend any hearings for child support or custody. There are different steps you can take if you lack proof in order to determine paternity.

How can I get a Paternity Test?

There are numerous paternity and DNA testing facilities across the U.S. Some parents want to compare different test results and therefore use more than one testing facility. The official paternity testing group for the APA (American Pregnancy Association) is DNA Diagnostics Center. Their organization is directly involved with the American Association of Blood Banks, or AABB.

Can DNA Tests be used in Court?

Several facilities offer testing that the court system now supports. If you’re not sure whether or not you need testing pending a court case, go ahead and have the testing done just in case.  Contact us today with any questions at 480-345-2652.