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Child Support Services Division



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Legal Relationship due to Marriage or Domestic Partnership

Married couples and couples in a registered domestic partnership do not need to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP)  because District law presumes that the husband is the father if the mother and father were married when the child was conceived (when the mother became pregnant) or born. District law also presumes that the husband is the father if the parents married after the child was born and the father acknowledges the child as his. DC law presumes that the other party in a registered domestic partnership  is the parent.

A person other than the husband or domestic partner may not acknowledge paternity because a legal parent already exists. You may want to speak with a lawyer about the best way to establish paternity. You may need to file a paternity case in court.  

A man can legally acknowledge paternity of a child who is born to a woman other than his wife (assuming the woman was not married or in a domestic partnership when the child was conceived or born).

Marriage in Another Country

If you were married in another country you should not need to sign an AOP to establish paternity. If there is a question, you may be asked to show your marriage certificate.

Living Together

Under certain very stringent conditions, District law recognizes a couple as married if they live together and hold themselves out to the community as married. But because the conditions are so stringent, the only way to be sure that the father’s name will be put on the birth certificate is for the parents to establish paternity through either an AOP or a court order.