Paternity FAQ

Legally establishing the paternity of children for fathers who are not married is an important aspect in many family law matters. For mothers, establishing paternity for your children can mean gaining the court-ordered child support owed to you by their biological father and set a court-ordered parenting time plan. For unmarried fathers, establishing paternity will secure your rights to child custody and a parenting time plan with your child.

Our Portland family attorney has compiled the following list of the most commonly asked questions from our clients regarding paternity in Oregon. For more information about the importance of establishing paternity, feel free to call our firm as well as schedule a confidential second opinion to discuss your case today.


Do unmarried fathers have the same rights as married fathers?

Unmarried fathers do not automatically have the same rights to children as married fathers, but they do have the ability to gain these rights through proper legal action. It is in the best interest of unmarried fathers to legally establish paternity, which may include signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP), DNA testing and other measures. Without a paternity order on file, the justice system does not recognize unmarried fathers as having any rights to a child. It should be noted that either a mother or a father can request DNA testing before a paternity order is entered. Contact Ronald Johnston by calling (503) 226-7986 to learn about our commitment to helping unmarried mothers and fathers establish paternity rights.
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What is a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP)?

A voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) is an administrative document that has the full force and effect of legal paternity. Unmarried parents have an opportunity to sign a VAP after the birth of the child, typically at the hospital in which the child was born. If you were unable to sign the VAP or if you have doubts as to your biological paternity, consult with a Portland family lawyer to learn about the other court and administrative measures you may need to take to establish your legal rights.
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What if the mother and I are on good terms with each other, but we do not want to get married?

Being on good terms with the mother of your child is the best situation in which to file for the paternity of your child. Having the legal documents in place, which name you as the father, ensures that you will retain your right to child custody if your relationship with the mother changes. Portland family attorney Ronald Allen Johnston often handles complex family law matters that could have benefited from having these paternity orders already in place. Speak with our firm today about safeguarding the future of your child by establishing paternity.
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If I establish paternity, will I have to pay child support?

Establishing paternity does not automatically set child support in place, but the rights to a child also include parental obligations. Both mothers and fathers are legally required to pay child support to the parent with primary physical custody of a child.

Portland family lawyer Ronald Johnston represents both mothers and fathers seeking to establish legal paternity, child custody, child support and parenting time.
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