Skip to Main Content


Paternity means establishing that a man is the legal father of a child born outside of marriage.  Once paternity is established, the father gains rights related to custody and parenting time and obligations related to financial support of the child, and the child gains the right to inherit from the father and receive governmental benefits based on father’s earnings.

The court process for establishing paternity 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 also may 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 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. 

This web page provides general legal information in summary form. The information is not a complete explanation of the law in this area, and it is not intended to substitute for legal advice. The law in this area may change, and the changes may not be noted here.  You should contact a lawyer for legal advice.