Oregon Child Support Program

Establish Paternity

Establishing paternity is the legal term for determining the biological father of the child. If a father is not listed on the birth certificate, legal paternity must be established in order to:

  • Obtain a support order for the child.

  • Obtain an order for health care coverage or cash medical support.

  • Protect the child's rights to benefits if the father dies, such as money or property left in a will, Veteran's benefits or Social Security benefits.

  • Allow the child access to the father's family medical history.

When parents are married to each other paternity is automatically established by the marriage. When parents are not married, paternity can be established by submitting paperwork or through a court or administrative legal process.

When the father and mother agree that the child is his, paternity may be legally established by the completion of a "Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity" form. This form must be signed by both parents, notarized and filed with Oregon Vital Records. Your local child support office can help parents complete this process.

If the mother would like to establish paternity for her child, she may fill out an "Affidavit in Support of Establishing Paternity" form with or without the other parent's voluntary acknowledgment. If applying for public assistance, she will fill one out at a local Department of Human Services (DHS). The form is available at your local child support office as well. DHS or Child Support will be in contact after receiving the affidavit to discuss the next steps necessary for establishing paternity.

When the alleged father does not believe he is the biological parent, the Child Support Program will help take steps, such as genetic testing, to determine whether he is or not. These genetic tests are simple, accurate and will determine if the man tested has the genetic markers required to be the biological father.

The program can also assist a man who wants to be declared the biological father of the child but needs help establishing paternity.

For more information on establishing paternity, see Steps to Establishing Paternity or contact your local child support office.


Apply Now Paternity Establishiment Only - Paternity Establishment Only - This application is for parents who only wish to place a child's biological father on the child's birth certificate and are not seeking additional child support services.


Apply Now Child Support - This application is for parents seeking to set-up a child support order in addition to establishing paternity. Once you submit this application a child support caseworker will be in contact to help you through additional steps based on you and your family's needs (see Establish an Order for Child Support).

Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

If parents are considering signing the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, they need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. The video below explains their rights. Those rights and responsibilities are also listed on the back of the Voluntary Acknowledgment form (Spanish: dorso del formulario de Reconocimiento Voluntario).


A Spanish language video is available here: Declaración de los Derechos
y Responsabilidades, de Reconocimiento Voluntario de Paternidad

For detailed instructions about how to complete the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, click here.

The Oregon Paternity Project - Is an effort to ensure that every Oregon child has access to his or her rights, including important health information, social and legal benefits, and services that promote their well-being. Learn more at www.oregonpaternityproject.org.

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