Filing for paternity in Kentucky

You may want or need to file for paternity in Kentucky for any number of different reasons. Maybe you believe a man fathered your child and you are hoping to receive child support to help cover costs associated with raising your offspring, or perhaps you believe you fathered a child, but the child’s mother disputes your claim. You may, too, wish to file for paternity simply because you and your child’s mother do not plan to legally marry but you still want the same rights with regard to your child that becoming a legal father would allow you.

Regardless of your reasoning for doing so, there are certain steps you must take to establish legal paternity in Kentucky.

If you are the child’s mother

If you are unmarried, you may want to establish paternity to obtain child support. In most cases, it makes sense to do so within four years of your child’s birth. If you wait longer than four years, you may not be able to receive back child support for the child. If there is no dispute over whether the man you believe is the father did, in fact, play that role, the two of you can sign a paternity affidavit confirming that the child is the biological offspring of the man in question. If there is some dispute, the next step is typically to move forward with a paternity suit, in which case a blood or DNA test will likely become necessary to prove paternity.

If you are the child’s father

The methods of establishing paternity are essentially the same for mothers and fathers. If your child’s mother is your wife at the time of the birth, you are considered the child’s father in the eyes of the law. If you are unmarried and the mother of the person you believe is your biological child disputes this assertion, you will not be able to establish paternity via a paternity affidavit. Instead, you must move ahead with a paternity case. In most situations, you may do so within the first 18 years of the child’s life, but keep in mind that you must establish paternity before you have any legal right to your child.

Should you decide to move forward with a paternity case, you usually must do so through your local county prosecutor’s office.