Establishing paternity, or parentage, are the terms for determining the legal parent of a child. It’s important for all parties involved – for the child, it can open access to support benefits and information and for a parent, it establishes rights to custody and visitation privileges.

If a parent is not listed on the birth certificate, legal paternity must be established to:

  • Obtain child support for the child
  • Obtain an order for health care coverage or cash medical support
  • Protect the child’s rights to benefits if the parent dies, including Veterans benefits, Social Security benefits or money or properties left by a will
  • Allow access to the parent’s family medical history

If parents are married, paternity is automatically established. If the parents are not married, paternity general involves some sort of legal filing or action.

  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form – when both parties acknowledge paternity, this form can be filed with Oregon Vital Statistics
  • Declaration in Support of Establishing Paternity form – the mother can file this to establish paternity for her child with or without the father’s voluntary acknowledgement

If there is no agreement on parentage, you can establish paternity through a court proceeding, called a filiation. It is important to have an experienced Oregon family law attorney support you in this proceeding, as establishing paternity can include legal action around child support, custody or visitation rights.