If you would like to formally establish paternity, you should begin by asking the father of your child to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. In doing so, he agrees to accept responsibility for the child and pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority.The birth father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity in two ways:
- He can be present at the birth of your child and sign a Declaration of Paternity. (Sometimes this paperwork is called an Acknowledgment of Paternity.) This documentation is also necessary in order to have the father's name placed on the child's birth certificate, if you choose to do so.
- If he is not present at the birth, he can complete an affidavit of paternity any time between the birth of the child up until the child turns 18. If this document is not completed before the birth certificate is issued, and you want the father's name listed on the birth certificate, you can apply to have the birth certificate altered to add the father's name at a later date.
Paternity Establishment. Office of Child Support Enforcement. 8 July 2007 [http://ocse.acf.hhs.gov/necsrspub/training/paternity/HHSPE.htm].