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How do I establish paternity?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2023 | Family Law |

In Kentucky, there are a few ways to establish paternity and it has several benefits for both the father and the child.

Establishing paternity

If the parents agree on paternity, they can complete a form called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This is usually completed at the hospital where the child is born or at the local health department.

If they do not agree on paternity, they can file a paternity action with the court. The court will order a genetic test to determine whether the proposed father is the child’s biological father. If he is, the court will issue an order of paternity, which allows the father’s name to be added to the child’s birth certificate.

Obligations and enforcement

Once paternity is established, the child’s father is obligated to financially provide for the child’s basic needs, like food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare. However, the court will consider both parents’ income and how many other children they have when determining how much the father will pay in child support.

The child also has rights to inheritance, information about their father’s genetic background and may be eligible for other benefits. It also can give the child a sense of belonging within their family when they know their father’s identity.

If the child’s father fails to pay court ordered child support, the other parent can go to court to request enforcement. The court may take several steps, including contacting the father’s employer to garnish his wages, ordering a lien on his property and in serious cases, may order jail time for non-payment.