Paternity is determining who the biological father of a child is. In an action for paternity, the courts will issues an order of filiation establishing the official paternity of the father to the child. Oftentimes, a paternity action is a prelude to determining child custody and support between parents.

Children Born In A Marriage

In Idaho, when a child is conceived or born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the biological father of all children from the marriage. This presumption can be overcome by an affidavit of nonpaternity or a genetic test. It is important to note that when couples divorce, if there is a concern that the husband is not the father, failure to raise the issue of paternity could result in losing the ability to raise the issue if it is later discovered the child is not the biological child of the father.

Children Born Out of Wedlock

When a child is born out of wedlock, sometimes there is a need to determine who the biological father is. If a father is determined to be the biological father of a child, the courts will issue an order of filiation, which officially recognizes the parental relationship.

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

Idaho Statutes recognize as evidence a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, which is a signed and notarized acknowledgment with the Idaho Department of Vital Statistics unit of the Department of Health and Welfare. The court may enter an order for the support of a child upon execution of a voluntary acknowledgment without further proceedings to establish paternity. A voluntary acknowledgment of parentage may be executed by the mother, whether a minor or not, and the father, whether a minor or not, and regardless of the marital status of the mother or father. The acknowledgment shall be verified by both the mother and the father.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Nonpaternity

If a mother was married at the time of either conception or birth, or between conception and birth, and the husband is not the father of the child, the husband may file an executed and notarized affidavit of nonpaternity if it is accompanied by a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity signed and notarized by the mother and the alleged father.

Filing an Action for Paternity

When paternity is an issue, the courts have jurisdiction to address the paternity of a child. An action for paternity may be filed either before or after the birth of the child but must be filed before the child turns 18 years old. Generally speaking, the fastest way to determine the paternity of a child is through genetic testing. Once a genetic test has determined who a biological father is, then the court can issue an order of filiation.

Prospective (Putative) Fathers

A putative father is a man whose legal relationship to a child has not been established, but who may be the biological father of a child born to a woman to whom he is not married when the child is born. When a male has relationship with a female which could result in the birth of a child which the male/father is unaware of, then the man/father who wants to ensure he does not give up his rights to any unknown child or children is required to take certain steps to ensure his rights are not lost. Failure to comply with the provisions of the law will almost certainly result in a loss of the opportunity to participate in the care and upbringing of their children. Click here for additional information.

The vital statistics unit of the Department of Health and Welfare shall provide forms. Click here for the form.