seq. Establishing paternity helps children: have a relationship with both parents How do you add your name as the father on a birth certificate? Legal paternity tests are accepted by the United States court system from coast to coast and also around the world. lf the alleged father does not respond or appear in court when a hearing is set, the court can enter a default order for paternity and support. Paternity is legal fatherhood—and it's one of the most important steps in the child support process. A mother and father can voluntarily sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form any time before the child turns 18. This is important to the father, mother and child. Many states have provisions for a father to voluntarily acknowledge paternity or the possibility of paternity of a child born outside of marriage and record the fact in a putative father registry. As an unmarried father, paternity is not presumed and you must often sign an acknowledgement of paternity in order to legally establish your rights as a father. How to Establish Paternity There are two ways to establish paternity: 1. It is important to legally establish fatherhood. The Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Program was established by Federal Law in 1988. 2, Part 3, §36-2-302. Hospital staff can help parents complete this form. Establishing paternity is easy and free. Why is it important to establish paternity? We have been advised by home affairs to do a paternity test with my current husband who is a biological father of my son in order to use his surname and it came back 99.9 percent that he is the father so home affairs is then asking me to do a paternity with my ex as a procedure on changing my son’s surname to his biological father’s. The alleged father must respond within 30 days of being served with the petition, or he will be automatically declared the father. Learn more about establishing paternity by clicking a topic below. If there is nobody listed as the father, the father can be added at any time by the mother and father filling out the Affidavit of Paternity, VS-06-5376 form. How do I establish paternity? Absent an order of custody to the contrary, custody of a child born out of wedlock is with the mother. There are unfortunate instances where a man will have legally established paternity only to find out he is not the biological father. When the mother and father agree that the father is in fact the biological father, paternity can be established voluntarily. Federal laws relating to this program have been updated several times since 1988 to ensure an easy process is in place to assist unwed parents in establishing paternity for their child. If you were married at the time of the baby's birth, or if your baby was born within 300 days after your marriage ended, your husband is presumed by law to be the father. There are benefits for the child, the mother, and the father when paternity is established. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity This method does not require that the mother is a customer of OCSE. For unmarried parents, paternity can be established through a paternity acknowledgement at the hospital or at DHEC Vital Records (or any county health department) after leaving the hospital. For example, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. In Ohio, you can establish paternity through voluntary acknowledgement if you have a … Paternity is automatically established if the parents are married when the child is born.The husband is the child’s legal father. Failure to establish paternity can prevent a single father from gaining any parental rights at all. The mother may begin to establish paternity by filing a petition to establish paternity. 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