Paternity needs to be established if child is conceived or born out of wedlock or conceived or born 10 months prior to divorce or separation.
Paternity establishment refers to the legal determination of being named as a child's father. The paternity establishment process is available at any time before the child attains 18 years of age. Paternity can be determined even if the other parent lives in another state or even in a foreign country. Paternity can be established in the following ways: 1. The voluntary acknowledgment process refers to completion of a form known as a "Declaration of Paternity Affidavit”. 2. If a case is contested, or if there is some doubt as to the father of the child, either parent may request that the BCSE conduct genetic testing to determine the father of the child. The BCSE will then order all parties to submit to genetic testing. The genetic test must show at least 98% probability of fatherhood. 3. If paternity is established through genetic testing the BCSE will schedule a support hearing to establish a support order for the child(ren). If either party fails to submit to the test or fails to submit the child for genetic testing, the BCSE may request the family court to find the party in contempt and determine the issue of paternity.
The Declaration of Paternity Affidavit (“Paternity Affidavit”) is a legal document that allows unmarried parents to voluntarily establish paternity for their child without going through a court.
When a child is born to an unmarried woman, the birth mother and birth father who are not married to each other may complete a Declaration of Paternity Affidavit.
Yes. Once the completed Declaration of Paternity Affidavit is received and accepted by the DVS, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate.
The name that is decided by the parents will appear on the child’s birth certificate. If the affidavit is completed after the child's first birthday it can not be changed from the child's original last name without a court order.
Yes. The Declaration of Paternity Affidavit must be signed by both the mother and the father, and both signatures must be notarized, but the document may be signed at different times, and in front of different notaries.
If one of the parties is an unemancipated minor, his or her parent or legal guardian must also sign the respective Declaration of Paternity Affidavit. Each individual signature must be notarized.
No. Only an original, completed Declaration of Paternity Affidavit will be accepted and processed by the DVS.
If the alleged father does not sign the Paternity Affidavit, paternity must be established through the courts. The mother can go to the local BCSE office in the county in which she resides and request paternity establishment services or consult with an attorney to be advised of her rights and possible course of action.
Yes. The Paternity Affidavit does not have to be completed at the time of the child’s birth. The mother and/or father can take the form home to complete at their convenience, but each individual signature must be notarized before returning the form to the DVS.
The original Declaration of Paternity Affidavit should be sent to the following address:WV Department of Health and Human ResourcesDivision of Vital Statistics
350 Capitol Street, Room 165Charleston, WV 25301
If the mother or father has any doubts, the Declaration of Paternity Affidavit should not be completed and signed. If you are utilizing BCSE services for the purpose of establishing support and there is a concern regarding the father of the child, the BCSE will assist with establishing paternity through genetic testing.
If the Paternity Affidavit is missing required data elements, a new Paternity Affidavit must be completed and returned to the Vital Registration office. This will cause delays in receiving the birth certificate listing the father’s name.
A separate Declaration of Paternity Affidavit must be completed for each child.
The mother and father can establish paternity for the child up until the child’s 18th birthday, or 21st birthday if actions are brought by the child.
The DVS is responsible for releasing all birth certificates for children born in West Virginia. The parent(s) are advised to contact the Division of Vital Statistics, 350 Capitol Street, Room 165, Charleston, WV 25301 or telephone (304) 558-2931 for additional information.
The father must establish paternity to have his name appear on the birth certificate. If the mother and father do not complete a Declaration of Paternity Affidavit, either parent can go to the BCSE or the circuit clerk of the county in which the child resides and request paternity establishment services.
West Virginia law provides that the name of the father shall be included on the birth record of the child of unmarried parents only if:
When the Paternity Affidavit is registered and certified by the DVS, the rights and duties of the child regarding the father will be recognized, and the child may be eligible for Social Security benefits, insurance benefits, inheritance or estate distribution.
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