How to Write a Letter of Paternity
By Natalie Smith
All states have their own policies and procedures for acknowledging paternity; you usually must fill out a form with the hospital when the child is born or with the child support office. These forms are in place because they collect information that will legally make you responsible for the child. Therefore, a letter acknowledging paternity isn't enough to grant you the full rights and responsibilities as the father of your child.
Contact your local child support office and make an appointment to fill out the paternity acknowledgment form. If your child was just born, you can fill out the form in the hospital.
Ask the child support office or hospital what forms of identification you need, and be sure to have those on hand when you sign the form.
Decide whether you want to have a DNA test to make sure that the child is yours. If you aren't sure about the child's parentage, take the test. Once you waive your right to a test you cannot go back later and deny responsibility for the child, even if a later DNA test proves he is not yours.
Discuss child support and visitation options with the caseworker at your appointment. She will advise you about the procedure for requesting visitation from the court and how to set up child support payments.
Sign the forms when you are satisfied with them and wait for the official visitation decree and child support instructions to arrive in the mail.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.