If you are an unmarried woman in Pennsylvania who is pregnant or recently had a baby, you may want to know how you can legally establish the paternity of your child in part so that your child may receive child support from the father. If you are the father of a baby but are not married to the mother, you may want to ensure your paternity is legally established so that you may enjoy your full parental rights and help to raise your child.
In either case, you may be able to benefit from what the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services calls the Acknowledgement of Paternity or the AOP form. This document may offer you the ability to have your child’s paternity recognized without needing to go to court. There are a few requirements that accompany this form. One of these is that the mother not be married to anyone including the father. Also, only biological male and female parents are allowed to sign an AOP but they must not be surrogate parents.
An AOP may be signed when a baby is born but may also be completed and signed any time up until the child turns 18 years old. If the AOP is completed after an original birth certificate is issued, a new birth certificate will be issued after the AOP form is approved.
If you would like to learn more about the means to establishing legal paternity of a child without going through the courts, please feel free to visit the child paternity page of our Pennsylvania family law and child support website.