Ask an Attorney: Does Signing a Birth Certificate Establish Me as the Father of My Child?

Posted on: October 20, 2017

Q: Does signing a birth certificate establish me as the father of my child?

A: No. If a child is born to an unmarried couple, a petition must be filed in court to establish the man as the father. The birth certificate is only evidence that the named father might be the biological father.

Either parent has the right to require DNA testing to determine paternity. They also have the right to agree on parentage and waive DNA testing. Once parentage is established through either DNA testing or sworn acknowledgment in court, both parents are then required to cooperate in visitation and support of the child.

The court will establish an appropriate parenting plan and child support obligation. It is never a good idea to delay in the filing of a parentage action because the court can assess an arrearage for child support that was not paid beginning from the child’s birth.

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