FAQs - Details


How is paternity established legally?


There are several ways paternity can be legally established. Click Additional Details to learn more.


1) If the mother is married when the child is born, her husband is considered, by law, to be the father unless  a court determines otherwise.

2) If the mother has been divorced or widowed less than ten (10) months, her husband at the time of conception is considered, by law, to be the father.

3) If the mother is married at the time of birth or was married at the time of conception, but her husband contends he is not the natural father of the child, paternity will need to be established in a court. The court will require a DNA test in order to make the determination.

4) If the mother is not married at the time of the birth, and was not married at the time of conception, paternity can be established in one of three ways:

Paternity Affidavit: The father may complete a paternity affidavit provided by the State Department of Health within 72 hours (3 days) of the birth of the child. This must be signed by both the mother and the father. This form will be made available to the parents in the hospital at the same time that the birth certificate is completed.

Administrative: Effective July 1, 1997, paternity can be established by completing the required affidavit at the local health department in the jurisdiction where the birth occurred. A legal determination of paternity will exist 60 days after the affidavit is properly completed. This process is available until the child reaches 18 years of age.

Court Determination: Paternity may be established by filing a paternity action in court. The parties may agree to the paternity or request a DNA test and hearing.