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Establishing Legal Responsibility (Parentage or Paternity)

Paternity and Establishing Parentage

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the child does not have the same rights for access to benefits as a child born to married parents. Additionally, unmarried parents do not automatically have the rights of a parent and may not be named on the birth certificate.

Parentage: is the recognition of a parent’s legal relationship to a child.

Paternity: is the legal definition of fatherhood.

To establish parentage and legal responsibility there are two options:

  • Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) both parents can sign a VDOP form in the hospital form in the hospital, welfare office, county clerk, or child support office to establish paternity. This is a free and easy way to establish paternity without having to go to court.
  • Court Order of Parentage - a court order to legally establish parentage

If paternity of the child(ren) is at issue, the court may order free genetic (DNA) testing. Testing is available at all Child Support locations with an appointment.

If you have questions about establishing parentage or genetic testing, please contact a child support professional by email from within Customer Connect or call (866) 901-3212.

If paternity of the child(ren) is at issue, the court may order free genetic (DNA) testing. Testing is available at all Child Support locations with an appointment.

 

If you have questions about establishing fatherhood or genetic testing, please contact a child support professional by email from within Customer Connect or call (866) 901-3212.