For the benefit of the family, and most importantly the child, it is important to make every effort to expedite the process for establishing paternity and the support obligation. By signing the Affidavit of Parentage naming the father, the mother begins the process of legally establishing paternity of the child. The father may then sign the Affidavit of Parentage. Before signing, parents must be advised of the rights and responsibilities of parents, legal consequences, and alternatives to signing the document. This information must be presented orally, in addition to that contained on the affidavit. The oral presentation may be in either live or video taped format. If the named father does not acknowledge paternity, the Affidavit of Parentage will be the basis for other legal action to establish paternity.
NOTE: Refer to the Child Support Enforcement Manual for a more detailed description of paternity establishment procedures.
There are times when you will have a two-parent family where paternity has not been legally established. In these instances, you should offer the parents the opportunity to begin legally establishing their child's paternity. Legally establishing paternity ensures the child's rights to possible future benefits such as Social Security and inheritance.
If you are talking with the mother of the child, the Affidavit of Parentage may be signed during your discussion with the family. If someone other than the mother is making the application, that person cannot sign the Affidavit of Parentage. If the father is also in the office, he may sign the Affidavit of Parentage. You may get these forms from your Child Support Unit.
NOTE: Counties are encouraged to complete the Affidavit of Parentage during the initial screening. This permits the Child Support Unit to take action immediately. However, this is an option rather than a requirement.
A. Assure that the mother understands that the Affidavit of Parentage is a legal document and should be taken very seriously. Explain that by signing the Affidavit of Parentage naming the father, the process of legally establishing paternity of the child is begun. The father may then sign the Affidavit of Parentage. Based on the statement of the parents, the court will issue the Order of Paternity. If the named father does not acknowledge paternity, the Affidavit of Paternity will be the basis for other legal action to establish paternity.
B. Before you complete an Affidavit of Parentage, have the mother answer the questions on Attachment II of the ASAP Workbook. Based on the instructions on Attachment II of the ASAP Workbook, you will know whether the Affidavit of Paternity can be signed by the mother.
C. When the mother signs the Affidavit of Parentage, have it notarized. The Affidavit of Parentage must be signed in the presence of the Assistant Clerk of Court, preferably, or a Notary Public.
D. If the father is present, have him sign the Affidavit of Parentage and have it notarized.The Affidavit of Parentage must be signed in the presence of the Assistant Clerk of Court, preferably, or a Notary Public.
E. Send the signed and notarized Affidavit of Parentage and any evidence of paternity (Attachment II to the ASAP Workbook) to the Child Support Unit.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.