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. Court Process
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. Vital Records
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 Enforcement Program will help take steps, such as genetic testing, to determine whether he is the father. Genetic testing results may determine who the biological father is, but they do not legally establish paternity.