Navajo County Attorney’s Office
Child Support Paternity Establishment
Why is it important
to establish paternity?
Paternity establishes a legal father
who is responsible for support of the children whether or not he is married to the
mother of the children. The support can include basic support, medical support and
child care. Children with legal fathers may have rights to benefits through their
fathers, including Social Security benefits, veteran's benefits, tribal registration
benefits, health care coverage, workers' compensation benefits and inheritance rights.
Children also benefit by knowing their biological, cultural and medical history.
How is paternity established?
Paternity may be established in two ways:
1. Recognition of Parentage (ROP)
Unmarried parents of a child may sign
an ROP at the hospital upon the birth of a child, or at a county Child Support office.
The ROP determines that the man who signed is the legal and biological father of
the child. If the mother was married to another man at the time the child
was conceived, for the ROP to determine the legal and biological father of the child,
the husband must also sign a form within one year of the child’s birth.
2. Court Adjudication
The county or one of the parents may
file an action in court to adjudicate paternity. In Navajo County, if one
of the parents receives Child Support services, the paternity action is filed and
the hearing is conducted by a Child Support Magistrate. If the parents do
not agree on some or all of the issues involved in the paternity action, then all
or some of the issues may be referred to Superior Court to be heard before a Superior
Court Judge. Also, if the alleged father does not agree that he is the biological
father of the child, he may request a jury trial. Prior to any adjudication
of paternity, Navajo County requests that the alleged father, the mother and the
child be required to participate in genetic testing.
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