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Paternity: Who is the Father of a Child?

​​​Paternity means legal fatherhood.  Establishing paternity helps ensure support from both parents, allows the child to have the father's last name and access family medical history.  It also allows access to social security survivor benefits, inheritance or to establish Native American tribal membership for the child.

There are four ways to be a father:

  1. Be married to the child’s mother when the child is born, whether living together or not.

  2. Acknowledge paternity using an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form.  If either parent has any doubts about who the father is, they should not sign an AOP.
  3. Be determined as the father by a judge through the court process.  You may apply for services with CSS to request DNA testing to establish paternity and child support orders.
  4. Adopt the child.

Paternity

Paternity Forms

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