How to Establish Paternity

There are a couple ways that unmarried parents can establish paternity.

The first option is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This
declaration can be signed at the hospital immediately following the birth of the child. If the
parents sign at the hospital, the father’s name will go on the birth certificate and the mother
does not need to go to court to determine who is the father of the child.

The parents can also sign the declaration after they leave the hospital, but it must be
signed at one of the following locations:

Once the declaration is signed, it must be filed with the New Jersey Department of Child
Support Service Paternity Opportunity Program (“POP”) in order to be effective.

Obtaining Child-Related Court Orders

While the signed declaration will have the same effect as a paternity judgment in establishing
who the father of the minor child is, in order to obtain orders on child custody, visitation, and

child support, a court action must be filed.

In addition, it is very important to ask friends and family about how

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Once a father has established parentage, he is then given all the rights and responsibilities of a
parent. Either parent may then file for custody, visitation, or child support orders. However,
once paternity is established, the father is also legally obligated to financially support the
minor child until he or she turns 18 years old.

If you are interested in learning more about your options for family law in New Jersey,
call Cindy Paul at (973) 542-0200.