If you were never married to the mother of your child and your name is not on the child’s birth certificate or you doubt you are the father of the child in question, further action may be necessary before a child support amount can be calculated. A legal parent–child relationship must be established before a child support order can be entered. In other words, it must be shown that you are the father of the child before you can be ordered to provide financial support for that child.

Legally establishing the father–child relationship can be accomplished in a number of ways. You may choose to voluntarily admit that you are the father of the child. This can be done through the Department of Child Support Services. You may also have had the chance to make this voluntary admission in the hospital when your son or daughter was born.

If you are not convinced that you are the father of the child, you may request genetic paternity tests. These tests will be conducted on tissue samples drawn from you, the mother, and the child. By comparing DNA markers and other factors, the tests can prove to an almost one hundred percent degree of certainty whether you are the father of the child. The results of the tests can also create a legal presumption of paternity and are admissible in court as evidence of the existence of a father–child relationship.