The first stage is establishing who the parents of the minor child are. Establishing paternity is a prerequisite for the establishment of child support. Paternity means fatherhood: legally naming the father of the child.
If the parents are married, there can be a presumption of paternity. Paternity determined through CSEA is called administrative determination of paternity.
When both parents agree as to who is father, there is an acknowledgment of paternity.
Additionally, paternity can be administratively determined after genetic testing is performed. When parties do not agree as to who is father, CSEA will administer genetic testing. An inclusive result or positive outcome will determine fatherhood.
If paternity is challenged administratively, a case will be filed in court to determine paternity. Either the matter will be set for hearing to challenge prior determination of paternity or the court may order a previously reluctant alleged father to cooperate with genetic testing.
Finally, paternity can be established at the hospital upon birth of the child. If both parties sign the “Paternity Affidavit” in the hospital and the form is properly notarized, and no party objects the affidavit will become a legal document and establish paternity.