Most men in North Dakota view fatherhood as a blessing and a significant obligation. Some men ignore any emotional attachment to a child and, instead, attempt to avoid their obligations to a child. For young mothers who are not married to the father of their child, formal legal proceedings may be needed to establish paternity of the child and to obtain child support and payment for medical care.
In some situations, paternity cannot be denied. Any child who is born during a marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband. A second method of establishing paternity is a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity by the father. The father must sign a form that has the legal effect of establishing the man as the child's legal father; once the form is signed, the father's name will be entered on the child's birth certificate.
If the man alleged to be the father denies paternity, a court action is necessary to resolve the dispute. Modern genetic science has provided a quick and nearly infallible method of resolving paternity through sampling the genetic material from skin cells taken from both the child and the putative father. The DNA samples are compared for similarity. Courts often order putative fathers to take and pay for necessary genetic testing. The father will be given the option of signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, and, if he refuses, a court trial will ensue.
A mother who has proved the paternity of her child can obtain child support, medical insurance and other financial assistance from the biological father even if the couple was never married. Any woman who has questions about bringing a paternity proceeding may wish to consult an experienced family attorney for advice on the cost of DNA testing and length of the proceeding.
Source: North Dakota Child Support, "Establish Paternity," accessed on April 21, 2018