How is Paternity in Kentucky defined? In Kentucky, married couples are legally established as parents of their children. Unmarried couples with children do not receive the same benefit from this law. To establish protection, additional steps are required. So “Establishing Paternity” means that the biological father becomes the legal parent of the baby for legal purposes. If the unmarried couple has a child and the father does not establish paternity, he is not considered the legal parent.

1st. The simplest way is for the parents to sign the VAP form. The Kentucky Paternity Acknowledgement Program (KYPAP) manages this process. When having a child at the hospital most often they’ll provide the parents with the VAP and can help with basic info or answering questions. This form can be signed at the hospital or outside the hospital to be submitted later. Always seek an experienced attorney for legal questions as the hospital staff cannot.

Remember that the parents will always have the initial right for genetic DNA testing between the child and the parents. If there is questions of who the true father of the child is, seek local child support where the mother lives to assist the mother in finding the correct father. Always avoid signing the VAP if there is suspicion and doubt of the child’s true birthing father. If there is doubt and the VAP is still signed, signing does not grant immediate rights of the child. Instead the potential father is able to ask a judge in court to grant him custody and visitation rights of the child.

2nd. The second way to establish paternity is to establish paternity through the judicial process. Through the district court in the county where the requesting party lives. The requesting party can be inquired from the child, mother, government lawyer of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, or the alleged father.

The case will be decided by a judge and not by jury trial. If genetic testing is requested then by court order everyone must submit and comply with the judge. Keep in mind that Health and Family Services also has the power of an administrative order requesting everyone to submit genetic testing. If this is the case then genetic testing is typically free of charge. Also keep note that when going through the courts that the court will make decisions about financial obligations, custody, residency and visitation rights.

Here are a few reasons why parents may want to establish the paternity of their child.

  • If parents do not live together and child support is an issue.
  • Parents are better able to work together to make decisions that are best for the child.
  • In the future, the child will have access to medical histories of both sides of the family.
  • The child’s birth certificate will include both parents’ names.
  • The legal father of the child may qualify for benefits from medical insurance, Social Security, state, federal and inheritance benefits.
  • If the mother passes away unexpectedly, the father is then able to take measures to secure child custody.

If you have any questions about establishing the Paternity of your child in Kentucky, please give Stotts Law, PLLC a call at (502) 383-1550 or schedule a consultation to help you and your family take the next best steps.