Unless you and your child’s other parent were married at the time of your child’s birth, you must establish paternity in order for both parties to have the same rights. Establishing paternity offers notable benefits for the parents as well as the child. Doing so may help your son or daughter develop a stronger sense of identity, for example. It may also help your son or daughter learn critical information about his or her medical background and family history, among other areas.
Unmarried parents living in Arkansas may establish paternity in one of two ways.
The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
If you and your ex agree about who fathered the child in question, establishing paternity through signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity may serve you well. When you both voluntarily sign the document, you do not have to go to court, so this gives you an easy and free way to establish paternity in Arkansas. Both parents may sign the form at the hospital after the birth, but you may also do so at any point before the child turns 18.
The Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement
If you are the mother of a child and the person you know is the father denies his role, you may need to ask the Arkansas Office of Child Support to intervene. The office may ask the presumed father to submit to genetic testing to prove paternity. If the presumed father refuses to undergo genetic testing, a judge may initiate the process through a court order.
Find more about family law topics on our webpage.