Paternity means establishing that a man is the legal father of a child born outside of marriage. Establishing paternity is necessary before custody, parenting time, and child support can be ordered. It is possible to ask the court to establish custody, parenting time, and child support as part of a case that establishes paternity. You may need a lawyer to help you. The Oregon Judicial Department does not offer forms for paternity.
The court process for establishing paternity, also knows as "filiation," is found in Oregon Revised Statutes 109.124 - 109.237. The mother, presumed father, State of Oregon, or a guardian of the child may file to start a paternity proceeding. In Oregon, paternity may also be established in the following ways:
- If a child is born during marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father
- If a child is born and the parents later marry, they may sign a notarized Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form and file it with the Center for Health Statistics.
- An unmarried mother and biological father may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form and file it with the Center for Health Statistics. The father's name will be added to the birth certificate when the acknowledgment is filed.
- The State of Oregon Child Support Program may establish paternity through administrative proceedings.
Genetic or DNA testing is the most accurate method of determining the biological father of a child.
Once paternity is legally established, there are only a few ways that the issue can be reconsidered. Speak with a lawyer for more information.