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Paternity Establishment and Basic Checklists

Legal Authorities:

Paternity establishment is the process of legally determining paternity between a child or children and an alleged father. The purpose of establishing paternity on a child support case is so that a support obligation may then be ordered for the benefit of the child or children. Child support may not be ordered on a case in which paternity has not been established, therefore, the paternity process is an integral phase of the overall child support process. The paternity process is conducted by a child support specialist who reviews the case to ensure that it meets paternity case criteria, then proceeds to manage the case as it progresses through the legal system until paternity has been successfully and legally established.

Case Criteria

Within the scope of child support, paternity is as much a legal issue as it is a biological issue. Paternity must be legally established between the child(ren) listed on a case and the alleged parents before child support can be ordered.

In cases where paternity has not been legally established, CSS establishes paternity and provides genetic testing. Paternity may be established by previous orders and/or the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) affidavit.

If the relationship of the mother and the man listed as the child(ren)’s father meet specific criteria (presumptions of paternity), such as marriage (past or present) and/or periods of cohabitation, the man is presumed to be the father. Verifying that paternity has not been established and gathering information related to presumptions of paternity are among the first actions taken in a paternity case.

For a case to progress to the paternity process, CSS must have had the case members’ correct addresses during the locate process. Once it is confirmed that paternity has not already been established, the case members’ locations need to be reviewed to make sure they are still current.

After the locations of case members have been checked, the issue of jurisdiction is examined to make sure CSS has the legal authority to proceed.

Use the following basic checklists to help you work a Paternity Establishment case: