So you’re ready to establish and declare paternity. How exactly do you go about this?

 

First and foremost, you need to understand your reasons for establishing paternity. If a child is born out of wedlock, there is no “presumption” as to who the father is. It’s important to establish paternity because the father will make many important decisions in the child’s life including:

 

  • Financial support
  • Inheritance
  • Custody & visitation rights
  • Access to family medical records
  • And more.

 

The first way to establish paternity would be to sign the birth certificate. The birth certificate can be signed at the hospital, or if arranged, at another time.

 

If for whatever reason the parents don’t place the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate, they should then prepare what is called a “paternity statement.” You can find the forms online by simply searching “declaring paternity” or “paternity statement.”

 

You will then sign and file the paternity statement and you’ll likely need a witness and/or notary present. Check with your own state’s Department of Health to find out where exactly to file the form.