Establishing paternity means that an individual has been legally determined to be the father of a child. Over 50% of children born in Rhode Island are born without the father's name on the birth certificate. The Office of Child Support Services can assist in establishing paternity.
Paternity can be established as follows:
When the non custodial parent is served with the paternity complaint, two forms will be provided one is called an "Answer" an the other is an "Affidavit". If the alleged father is not sure he is the father, he should request dna testing. These forms can be downloaded from this Web site. When the Office of Child Support Services receives the answer, a DNA appointment will be scheduled. The father will not appear at the same time as the mother and child. For your convenience, the appointment will be scheduled at the Office of Child Support Services on 77 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI. The State will pay the cost of the test initially. If the father is found to be the father by the court, he will be ordered to reimburse the State for the fee. The cost is $200.00.
The lab technician will swab the inside of the cheek of the mother, father and child's cheek. Blood tests are no longer performed. Within approximately 30 days the state will receive the results and either file a Motion to Dismiss the case, or file a Motion for Summary Judgment to adjudicate the father based upon the dna results. If the case is dismissed, the cost of the dna will not have to be reimbursed by the alleged father.
The father's name will be added to the child's birth certificate per Court order. In a contested matter, if the Court decides after a hearing, that the child's last name will be changed to that of the father's, it will be reflected in the Court order. It is determined based upon the best interests of the child.
No. The father must file a Motion for Visitation and/or Custody with the Family Court. A hearing will be held to determine these issues. Neither visitation nor custody is automatically guaranteed simply because the father is adjudicated or acknowledges paternity. The father and mother can always agree to a visitation and custody arrangement.
Yes. The state will seek an order for child support and medical coverage if the child is on assistance or Rite Care. The mother also has a right to seek child support and medical coverage is if she is supporting the child on her own. She may also be entitled to past liabilities for up to 6 years prior to the filing of the paternity complaint. The court may determine what the child support order should have been for that period of time and order the father to reimburse the mother in that amount.
Yes. Paternity may be established up until 4 years after the child reaches the age of majority.
In order to receive an amended birth certificate, you must obtain a certified copy of the Family Court Order that states the birth certificate should be amended by Office of Vital Records. Obtain the order through the Family Court Reciprocal Office, Garrahy Judicial Complex, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903. Ask for a certified copy of the Order for the date you were in Court.
After you have a certified copy of the Order, contact the Rhode Island Office of Vital Records, 3 Capitol Hill, Room 101, Providence, RI 02903, telephone number (401) 222 - 5960. For additional information and the list of the documents and payments required to get the new Amended Birth Certificate visit the Rhode Island Department of Health - Office of Vital Records website.