When unmarried parents have a child and the biological father may be a point of dispute, establishing paternity can be important to resolving issues regarding custody and child support. In Oregon, here are the fundamental steps to establishing paternity for a child:
- An “Affidavit in Support of Establishing Paternity” form must be completed by either parent.
- Both parents will be contacted by the Oregon Child Support Program to notify them that a paternity case has been opened. This step can take some time to complete if there are any issues locating either parent and/or serving either parent with the affidavit.
- Following service, the man has the opportunity to request genetic testing.
- If no action is taken by the man within 30 days of being served, the man will deemed to be the legal father by the 34th day. In other words, inaction can result in the establishment of paternity at this point.
- If genetic testing is, however, requested, it will usually be scheduled to be conducted within 15 to 45 days of the request.
- Genetic tests are conducted to affirm or rule out paternity. If a man is ruled out as the father, the mother will need to provide the name of another male in order to keep the case going.
Establishing Paternity in Oregon: More Important Information
- When unmarried parents agree on who the biological father is – In these cases, a Voluntary Acknowledge form can be signed, notarized and filed with the Oregon Vital Records office. This would effectively establish paternity. Once this affidavit has been signed, parents have up to 60 days to rescind the affidavit (and up to one year if genetic testing has not been completed following a request for such testing).
- Duration of the process – In general, it can take anywhere between 30 and 120 days to establish paternity in Oregon.
- Benefits of establishing paternity – While establishing paternity can be essential to preserving custody rights and/or securing child support, it can also have other benefits, such as conferring inheritance rights on children, giving children access to government-related benefits (via a father’s work or military record, for instance), and providing children with a more complete picture of their medical history.