Law & Legal & Attorney Children Law

Child Support Laws: Acknowledgment of Paternity

    Married Parents

    • If a child's parents were married at the time of birth, the husband is legally considered to be the father.

    Nonmarried Parents

    • If a child's parents were unmarried at the time of birth, paternity must be acknowledged by the father.


    • Paternity can be acknowledged voluntarily in a written statement. In cases of doubt or dispute, genetic testing might be required.

    Default Paternity

    • In some states, failure of an alleged father to submit to genetic testing or appear at a court hearing can prompt the court to establish his paternity by default.

    Support Order

    • Once paternity is established, a child-support order can be executed. Support is based proportionally on salary and assets.


    • Federal law allows states to enforce child-support orders. Failure to pay can lead to serious consequences, including a revoking of occupational and driver's licenses, denial of a passport, and criminal charges.

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