I'm not married to my child's father. Can I still get child support?
In order for a child to be entitled to child support, paternity (legal fatherhood) for the child must be established. This service is offered through the child support enforcement program. There are two ways paternity can be established:
  • When both parents agree that a man is the only possible father of a child, they can establish paternity for the child by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This form is made available in hospitals, through local social services agencies, local child support agencies and from registrars of vital statistics in every county. The form, when witnessed and filed with the Department of Child Support Services in Sacramento, establishes paternity and the obligation of both parents to provide financial support for the child.
  • A court can establish paternity based on the filing of a Complaint naming a man as the father of a child. When the man denies paternity, the court must order the mother, putative (alleged) father and the child to submit to genetic testing. These genetic tests are performed on blood or skin cells in order to either exclude a man as the father of a child or to establish a probability of paternity-a likelihood that the man is the father of a child. Where the probability of paternity is 95% or greater, the man is presumed to be the child's father, and must prove to the court that he is not in order to avoid paternity establishment.
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