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Establishing Parentage


Parentage is the legal relationship between a child and a parent of a child.  If parents are married at the time a child is born, the law presumes that the spouse is the parent of the child. If the parents are not married, then parentage needs to be established through a legal process. By establishing parentage, the other parent’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate, and they will gain legal rights to the child, as well as responsibilities for supporting the child. 


What Is The Process For Adding a Parent to a Birth Certificate (Establishing Parentage)?  


If the parent who gave birth to the child is not married at the time a child is born and has not been married at any time between conception and the birth of the child, no other parent will be named on the birth certificate unless both parents complete an Acknowledgement of Parentage form, or unless ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Acknowledgement of Parentage


The Acknowledgement of Parentage form is a sworn statement voluntarily completed by the parents at the hospital at the time the child is born, or at a later date at any local office of the Department of Social Services (see Directory of Department of Social Services Offices), or at the Department of Public Health. It affirms that the other person is a parent of the child and has the same force and effect as a court ordered judgment of parentage . Once the Acknowledgement of Parentage form is completed and processed, the other parent’s name will be included on the child’s birth certificate. 


Note that the Acknowledgement of Parentage form is not available online.


Court Ordered Parentage


Another way to establish parentage is through a court order. Court ordered parentage becomes necessary when either parent is unwilling to sign the Acknowledgement of Parentage form. If parentage is established through a court order, a certified copy of the court order must be submitted to the Department of Public Health. Once the certified court order is processed, the other parent’s name will be included on the child’s birth certificate.



How Much Does It Cost to Establish Parentage via the Acknowledgement of Parentage?


There is no fee for establishing parentage.


How Long Will It Take to Add the Other Parent's Name to the Birth Certificate?


Normal processing time is approximately four (4) to six (6) weeks.


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