Establishing paternity means to establish a legal father for a child. When the parents are not married, it is important that paternity is legally established. Paternity must be established before any child support court orders can be enforced or established. DCSS has the Hospital Paternity Program (HPP) that is a collaborative effort between DCSS and Arizona’s hospitals, birthing entities and the Arizona Bureau of Vital Records to provide paternity establishment services for unmarried couples immediately following the birth of their child.
Items You May Need
Information about the other parent, such as:
Name, date of birth, address and Social Security number
Name and address of current or recent employer
Names of friends and relatives, names of organizations to which he might belong
Physical description or photograph
Written statements (letters or notes) in which the alleged father has said or implied that he is the father of the child
There are several ways you can establish paternity:
At the hospital by signing a Acknowledgment of Paternity form that is available at all hospitals and birthing centers for unwed parents to complete and sign after their child is born. After the Acknowledgment of Paternity is signed, nurses and birth recorders can help to legally establish paternity for a child.
Both parents may come into a DCSS office to fill out and sign the Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity form that is filed by the DCSS through the Hospital Paternity Program (HPP) to establish paternity.
A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, signed by both parents, can also be filed with the court or an administrative agency to establish legal parentage.
The Acknowledgment of Paternity is also available at all Vital Records offices.
If one parent is uncooperative in establishing paternity on a case opened with DCSS, the case may be referred to the Assistant Attorney General’s Office for a court hearing to establish paternity and a child support order.
If you are unsure of paternity, genetic testing may be needed to prove the identity of the father. DCSS will pay this cost until paternity is established. If the father’s identity is established through genetic testing, he is then responsible for paying this cost which is $31.75 each for mother, father, and child.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity allows parents to give their children the opportunity to benefit from:
Social Security and other government programs
Health and life insurance
Medical history for both sides of the family
A sense of identity
Having both parents involved in the child’s daily life
For more information on the Hospital Paternity Program, call 602-771-8181.
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