How can paternity be established?  

There are three different ways of establishing paternity of a child born to unmarried parents:

  1. By signing a paternity acknowledgment at the hospital or shortly after the birth of a child. This document places a father’s name on the birth certificate and will render the father liable for child support set by the Division of Child Support administratively.
  2. By contacting the prosecutors’ office, child support division, and requesting paternity establishment services. This results in an actual court order which provides for a residential schedule, designates a primary custodian and an order of child support
  3. By pursuing a private paternity action through an attorney, which will result in the same kind of orders that the prosecutors’ office obtains, but a more comprehensive Parenting Plan.

Note:  DNA genetic testing is available by court order.  The paternity statutes are uniquely separate and contain a number of timelines and procedures.

Establishing Paternity – what happens once paternity has been established? 

Once paternity is established, then either parent may petition the court for a comprehensive Parenting Plan.