According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, when a child is born to married parents in Arkansas, the presumption exists that the mother’s husband is also the father. If neither party challenges the presumption, the husband’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate as the biological father. However, the same cannot be said when a child is born out of wedlock. If an unmarried father wishes to establish paternity, he must do so in one of two ways.

The first and easiest way for a father to establish paternity in Arkansas is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Establishing paternity through an AOP is easy and free, and the mother and father can complete the process any time before the child turns 18. Parents may use an AOP if the mother was not married at the time of the child’s birth, or if she was married to someone other than the child’s biological father. If both parties agree to the AOP, court intervention is not necessary.

If the mother was married to someone who is not the child’s biological father at the time of the child’s birth, the mother, spouse/former-spouse and alleged father must go to the hospital to sign the AOP. All three parties must sign the document for the birth certificate to reflect the biological father’s name.

If the alleged biological father does not agree that he is the father, the mother may apply for services designed to help establish paternity through the Office of Child Support Enforcement. The OCSE will then give him a chance to submit to genetic testing. If the father refuses, the OCSE will petition to the court for a court order requesting that the father appears for testing.

If it turns out the alleged father is not the biological father, the mother is responsible for all court costs, including those associated with testing. If the man is, in fact, the father, he is responsible for all fees.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.