Establishment - Paternity
Establishing paternity is the process of determining the legal father of a child. When parents are married, paternity is automatically established in most cases. If parents are unmarried, paternity establishment is not automatic and both parents, as soon as possible for the benefit of the parent and the child, should start the process. Even though they aren’t married, the father and mother of the child may be living together. This does not mean the child’s paternity has been legally established. Unmarried parents who sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form help their child (ren) gain the same rights and privileges of a child born within a marriage. Some of those rights include: financial support from both parents, access to important family medical records, access to the non-custodial parent’s medical benefits, and the emotional benefit of knowing who both parents are.
- a Judge or other official may enter an Order at Court which establishes paternity, or
- the Child Support Division office may establish paternity without having to go to Court, or
- a statement of paternity may also be signed, either at the office when the child is born, or
- our office can assist you in completing this form and mailing to vital statistics.
Some important reasons to establish paternity:
- Identity - Children have the right to know their mother and father
- Money- The father may be required to pay child support if paternity has been legally established
- Medical- It may be possible to obtain health insurance coverage for the child through the father's employer
- Survivor's Benefits- If the father is disabled or dies, his child could qualify for a number of benefits: Social Security, inheritance, veteran's benefits and life insurance
Enjoy a video on the importance of paternity.
If paternity is not already legally determined, genetic testing may be ordered.
Child Support Enforcement only does paternity testing where we are establishing a new order and paternity is not yet established, or when court ordered. If you only need paternity test information, you can call the Paternity Hotline at 303-830-3572. If someone named as the father is wishing to contest paternity, this is a judicial action and is not within our jurisdiction.
For more information about paternity, please see the state child support website on paternity.