You are at the hospital in the delivery room, nurses and doctors running around telling you what to do and telling your significant other to push and to breathe all at the same time. Before you know it, a new life has been brought into this world. Soon after though, the hospital staff shows up with some documentation explaining that they need you to fill them out so they can put the baby’s name on the birth certificate along with yours and the mothers. If you are unmarried, additional forms are provided to you and depending on which state you reside in they can either be called Acknowledgment of Paternity (or AOP) and in other states Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (or VAP).
Well, what if you have some doubts on whether or not this is even your child? Perhaps you have heard some rumors, or maybe your partner admitted a while back to having an affair or cheating but “swears” that you are the father, or could it be that you are holding this newborn baby right in front of your eyes and surprised that the little one doesn’t look anything like you, in fact, it even has a different skin color than yours, or you are just so overwhelmed by this whole experience and you just don’t feel comfortable filling out any forms until you know for sure…so what is a guy to do?
Well, for starters, if you are uncertain, DO NOT sign any documents stating that you accept responsibility for the child. Sure, it may end up as a source of contention with your partner, but there is always time to accept and acknowledge paternity after you and the child have gone into a lab for a paternity test. This way you will know unequivocally that you are indeed the father (or not) plus you will not be liable, at the moment, for paying any kind of child’s support or reimbursing the state for the mother being on welfare (if that is the case) until those results come back.
There are some drawbacks however that you will need to be prepared for. Paternity testing does take some time and money. The mother will also need to bring the child in with her to sign as the guardian. That can be done the same day & time you test or separately if need be with no extra charge. The results then, which are ISO & AABB accredited, will be provided within 3-5 business days after both parties have gone in for testing. Then, if you do find that you are the father, some states do charge a fee for acknowledging paternity at a later date.
If you have found yourself in the delivery room (or any room for that matter) questioning your possibility of being the father give us a call 1-800-535-5198 and speak to a representative about your options and next steps…it could make a lifetime of difference.