Paternity means "being a legal father." If a child is born while two people are married, or within 300 days of their divorce, the husband, or the ex-husband, of the mother will be presumed to be the father of the child. This means that the father’s paternity is already recognized. If a child is born to parents who are not married at the time of birth, paternity can be established one of three ways:
- Both parents voluntarily complete an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) (Note: When a child also has a presumed father, the mother and presumed father must also sign the AOP stating that the presumed father is not the child’s biological father);
- An agreed court order (negotiated through the CSRP process in the child support office, or at court);
- A non-agreed court order (the judge decides contested issues, this can occur when the case is pursued through CSRP or when filed directly with the court).