Paternity & Support

In Virginia, paternity and child support can be pursued in 2 ways:
  1. You can open a case through the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). In order to open a case, you need to obtain an application at the local office:
    903 Enterprise Parkway
    Suite 110
    Hampton, VA 23666
    Phone: 800-468-8894
  2. You can file a petition at the Court Service Unit Office located at:
    300 Ballard Street
    2nd Floor
    Yorktown, VA 23690
    Phone: 757-890-3480.

Paternity


Voluntarily Admitting Paternity


If a man has admitted to fathering a child, he may be named as the father on the child's birth certificate. Or, he may have signed a statement at the hospital when the child was born acknowledging that he is the child's father.

If his name is not on the birth certificate and he has not signed any statements, then he can still voluntarily acknowledge paternity by:
  • Acknowledging under oath (in open Court) that he is the father of the child
  • Completing an acknowledgment of paternity with DCSE

Resumption of Paternity


There are certain situations in which the law presumes that someone is the father of the child. For example, when a child is born to a married couple, the law presumes that the husband is the father of the minor child. Likewise, once a man signs a written paternity statement under Oath, the law presumes he is the father.

A conclusive presumption also arises when the parties undergo genetic testing (DNA tests) and the tests show a probability of paternity of 98% or higher. Paternity can also be accomplished by legally adopting a child. Once paternity is established, both the mother and father have rights and responsibilities. Among their responsibilities, they may be obligated to provide financial support and health care coverage for the child.