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What are the Best Tips for Establishing Paternity?

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  • Written By: M. Lupica
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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The ease of the process for establishing paternity depends on whether the father is willing to acknowledge it voluntarily, so the best tips for doing it include getting the father to agree to establish paternity through an affidavit at the time of the child's birth. If the father is not cooperative, then establishing paternity will require going through the courts and submitting the alleged father to a paternity test. It is important for one to attempt to establish paternity as soon as possible, especially if the mother is seeking back child support, because it is in the judge’s discretion whether or not to award back support and the judge is not likely to order it for someone who delayed the process of establishing paternity

If the father is willing to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, then all he has to do is sign a declaration of paternity. This is sometimes called an acknowledgment of paternity. If he is not present at the birth, then he may draw up an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child at any point before the child becomes a legal adult.

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If the father will not voluntarily acknowledge paternity or cannot be found, the mother should contact the local office of child support enforcement. There, an agent will first discuss the process with the mother and draw up an affidavit that indicates the alleged father’s identity. The organization will then attempt to locate the father through government agencies. After the alleged father is reached, then he will be asked to acknowledge paternity voluntarily through a paternity affidavit.

If the alleged father resists establishing paternity at that point, then the mother should seek a court order forcing him to submit to a paternity test as soon as possible and no later than when the child reaches the age of majority. He might refuse the test, but he then runs the risk that the court might decide through other evidence that he is the father by default, because this process almost presumes paternity if the alleged father refuses. If the father does submit to the paternity test, then he will have a certain amount of time, such as 60 days, to contest the results if they come back indicating that he is the father. After this time period, he will be legally deemed the father by operation of law.

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