Authored By: Virginia Legal Aid Society
Paternity means fatherhood. Establishing paternity means legally determining the father of a child. Establishing paternity means that the father’s name can be placed on the child’s birth certificate and that he has legal responsibility for the child. Paternity, unless acknowledged by the father, is established by the court. A mother will need to prove paternity if she wants the father to pay child support or if she expects the child to inherit property from the father's estate.