Paternity is the legal acknowledgement of the relationship between a father and his child. A determination of paternity provides a child born outside of marriage with certain legal rights and benefits afforded to children born to married parents.
If a married woman gives birth to a child, the law presumes that husband of the child’s mother is the father of the child. When an unmarried woman gives birth to a child, the mother or child must establish paternity. In most states, the mother or child may establish paternity before birth or at any time leading up to the child’s 18th birthday. They can establish paternity in one of several ways:
- Voluntary Acknowledgment. If a mother and father agree on the paternity of their child, both parents may sign an affidavit establishing paternity. The affidavit may be completed immediately following the birth or at a later time. Once the affidavit is processed, the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate.
Read the full article here http://www.justia.com/family/docs/paternity.html