Establishing Paternity in New Jersey

paternity acknowledgement of paternity

How to establish paternity in NJ?

Below is brief overview on how the paternity establishment in New Jersey works.

  1. Request Paternity Acknowledgement Certificate of Parentage (COP): The first step in establishing paternity in New Jersey is for the putative father to sign a COP form. This form can be obtained from the hospital where the child was born, or from the local child support agency.
  2. File the Paternity Acknowledgement with the State: The signed form must then be filed with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
  3. Establish Paternity: Once the form is filed, paternity will be legally established and the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate.
  4. Obtain Child Support: If the father is not providing financial support for the child, the mother can file a child support application with the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Family Development to obtain a child support order.
  5. Establish Visitation and Custody: If the parents are not married, the father will need to file a complaint for custody and/or visitation with the family court in the county where the child resides.

How to get a court ordered paternity test?

In order to get a court-order paternity test for either a mother or an alleged father a paternity petition in order to perform a court ordered DNA paternity test.

How long does a father have to establish paternity in NJ?

Paternity establishment can occur anytime before the child turns 23 years old.

Who pays for paternity tests?

Paternity testing can be paid for one of two ways.

  1. By the participants involved with the paternity test. If you need legal paternity testing services call 973-609-5102 today.
  2. If the state decides to pay for your DNA test. Depending on your specific situation the state may require you to reimburse the state. Please note, sample collection fees will be covered by the participants. The court will prove direction on how to proceed.

Does signing birth certificate establish paternity in New Jersey?

No. For unmarried men for their names to appear on a child’s birth certificate the man must sign a certificate of parentage form. After signing the COP the father’s name will appear on the birth certificate.

This process will make unmarried men the legal father and in some instance not the biological father. A paternity test can be performed to confirm biological paternity but it recommended if there is doubt to perform a DNA test before signing COP form due the possible legal obligations the man would be responsible for.

Married men do not have to sign the COP form because it presumed the husband is the biological father of the child. Or, within the first 300 days of a divorce.

How to establish paternity if mother refuses?

If a mother refuses a man the opportunity to establish paternity of child. The man can file a petition with family court near his city. If the petition is accepted the court will issue a court order for the mother to appear in court to establish paternity.

Please keep in mind, paternity testing is voluntary and a mother or father has the right to object to participating in DNA test.

Every circumstance is different we recommend that you speak with Family Law Attorney NJ before filing a petition to learn more about the paternity establishment in New Jersey.

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