What is an Acknowledgment of Paternity and Why is It Important?

An Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) is a legal document, filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which establishes a man as the legal father to a child. The AOP can be obtained at the hospital where the child is born, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate and the hospital will send the AOP to be filed with the state. The AOP can be signed and sent off later, but it is most convenient to be completed at the hospital when the baby is born.

If the mother of the child is married to a man who is not the biological father of the child in question, the husband must sign what is called a Denial of Paternity along with the father signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity. The signing of an AOP establishes that the signatory is the legal father of the child and establishes paternity.

If there is a pending court case establishing paternity of a child, the Court must either have a valid Acknowledgment of Paternity or a genetic test establishing paternity for the Court to adjudicate parentage as a matter of law.

Contact the Ramos Law Firm if you have additional questions about establishing the paternity of a child.