How do I establish paternity through the courts?

When should paternity be established in court?

Usually, it is best to establish paternity through the courts if there is any question about the identity of the father. For example, if the mother believes there is more than one possible father. There may be other reasons also. If either the man or the woman is unsure about signing the acknowledgment or the woman's husband or registered domestic partner is unwilling to sign a denial, then establishing paternity in court may be the best option.

How do I open a parentage case in court?

Often the state can help establish parentage for your child if you apply for services with DCS. If DCS accepts your case, DCS will usually refer your case to a county prosecuting attorney. The county prosecutor acts on behalf of your child and cannot represent you in court or give you legal advice. The prosecutor can answer general questions about your parentage case.

How is parentage established in court?

If the state is trying to establish parentage, a county prosecutor will usually serve legal papers upon the possible father or fathers. Often, the prosecutor or the court will require the mother, possible father(s), and the child to submit to genetic tests. The court will enter an order establishing parentage.

Are there costs to establish parentage in court?

If the prosecutor is establishing parentage in court on a DCS case, you will not be charged a filing fee. However there may be other costs associated with establishing parentage in court. If a man is determined to be the father he may be ordered to pay the costs of genetic tests or other court costs.