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The Importance of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity can help provide emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child, and can ensure that the child receives the same rights and privileges as all children. These include inheritance rights, access to the father's medical and life insurance benefits and to Social Security and veterans' benefits. The child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father, and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the father's family. It also may be important for the child's health for doctors to know the father's medical history, especially if there is a history of medical conditions in the father's family. Alaska law does not allow a father to be named on a birth certificate if the mother is not married at conception, during the pregnancy, or at birth, unless an affidavit of paternity is completed by the parents or paternity is determined by a court. If a father is not named on the birth certificate, the father of the child cannot obtain a copy of the child's birth certificate.

How can a father or a mother establish paternity?

Either the mother or the father may complete a voluntary affidavit of paternity. These forms are available at all hospitals in Alaska and are usually given to the mother (if she is unmarried) at the time of birth. Additional forms are available at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Bureau has walk-in offices in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. The Bureau's web site has the address and a map showing the location of each office. Affidavit of paternity forms may also be requested by calling (907) 465-8601. If a parent has questions about how to complete the form, they may call the Bureau of Vital Statistics at (907) 465-8601 for assistance. A voluntary affidavit of paternity needs to be filled out and then signed by both parents.

IMPORTANT: The affidavit of paternity form must be signed by both the mother and the father in the presence of a notary, a postmaster, or witness. Once the form is completed and signed, it needs to be mailed to the Bureau. The address is on the form.

If the father is not willing to sign a voluntary affidavit of paternity or the mother is married but the husband is not the biological father, the mother should contact the Bureau at the number above for additional assistance.

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