Establishing paternity is the legal term for determining the biological father of a child. If a father is not listed on the Nebraska 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.; and
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.
When parents are married to each other, the law presumes that the husband is the father. When parents are not married, paternity may be established by submitting a notarized Acknowledgment of Paternity form to DHHS Vital Records Management or through a court order.
When the father and mother agree that the child is his, paternity may be legally established by the completion of an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Nebraska hospitals have Acknowledgement of Paternity forms available to be completed at the time of the child's birth. The completed form is filed with DHHS Vital Records Management.
When there is not a signed Acknowledgment of Paternity form and 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 the father.
These genetic tests are simple, accurate and will determine if the man tested has the genetic markers required to be the biological father. Genetic tests are completed by obtaining saliva from the mouth (buccal swab).
Genetic tests can be requested by the mother, father, child or the court. In most cases, the state is required to do genetic testing if the child's father has not been legally determined.