Establishing Paternity in New Jersey

paternity acknowledgement of paternity

How paternity is established in New Jersey?

Please explain the process to establish paternity in the state of New Jersey step by step:

1. Request Paternity Acknowledgement (Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or VAP): The first step in establishing paternity in New Jersey is for the putative father to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity 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.

Is paternity testing mandatory for paternity establishment?

No, paternity testing is not mandatory for paternity establishment. Paternity can be established through other means, such as voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or through a court-ordered process. However, paternity testing is the most accurate and reliable way to establish paternity.

What are the benefits of paternity establishment in New Jersey?

1. Ensuring that the father is legally recognized as the father of the child and has all the associated rights and responsibilities.

2. Establishing a secure financial future for the child with access to the father’s financial resources.

3. Establishing a legal relationship between the father and the child for inheritance and other legal matters.

4. Establishing the father’s legal rights to custody and visitation.

5. Establishing a legal relationship between the father and the child’s mother, including the ability to pursue child support orders.

6. Improving the health and well-being of the child through increased access to medical insurance, health care, and other benefits.

7. Providing the child with a sense of identity, belonging, and stability.

Do vital statistics require genetic testing if the biological father’s name is not on the birth certificate?

No. Vital statistics will typically request you get a court order or the submission of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. Genetic testing will be requested during your court proceedings to prove the biological relationship between the alleged father and child. It should be noted that when performing legal paternity tests, the mother of the child must be included in the testing process.

Can a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity be signed if the mother is married?

Yes, A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) is a document used for unmarried couples who conceive a child. In the event, the mother of the child is married. Before the VAP can be signed, the husband must agree to sign an Affidavit of Denial of Paternity in New Jersey.

If the husband refuses an Affidavit of Denial of Paternity the biological father will not be able legally to be viewed as the legal father of his child. The husband will be the legal father.

Can a biological father force a husband to sign an affidavit of denial of paternity?

No. A biological father cannot force a husband to sign an affidavit of denial of paternity. If a husband is the legal father of a child, the only way to change the legal paternity of the child is through a court order establishing paternity.

Can paternity be established if the biological father of the child is recently deceased?

Yes. Performing a paternity test is possible but there are a few things you will need to take into consideration.

1. Find out from the coroner’s office what samples are on file. Common samples that are often available at the coroner’s office are blood samples.

If there are no blood samples collected. Hair samples may be a secondary option but you will need a court order from a Judge requesting this option to establish a proper legal chain of custody.

2. If the mother or guardian of the child is considering using her DNA test results to acquire Social Security Benefits for her child. We recommend that you contact Social Security first to ensure you follow their protocol for deceased parent evidence submission.

It should also be noted, if the coroner’s office did not collect a blood or hair sample of the deceased father. If you need to establish the paternity of the child. Performing a Grandparent DNA test with the deceased father’s parent or parents is the best option if available. Another option that may be possible is a sibling DNA test if the deceased father had another child where his name is on the birth certificate.

Before performing any of the alternative relationship test options we recommend that you consult with Social Security to confirm they will accept the alternative testing option. We always recommend that you consult with a Family Law Attorney.

Is going to family court the only way I can perform genetic testing to establish paternity?

 No, it is not the only way to perform genetic testing to establish paternity. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to arrange genetic testing without going to family court. However, if there is a dispute regarding paternity, a court order may be necessary.

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