Establishing paternity can be as simple as the father executing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form. The acknowledgment indicates the father is waiving his rights to any genetic testing or trial on the issue of paternity. An acknowledgment acts as conclusive evidence that the person who signed the acknowledgment is in fact the father of any subject child(ren). Once an acknowledgment of paternity is signed, it is very difficult for a father to then try to allege the child is not his. 23 Pa. C.S. Section 5103(g) discusses grounds for rescission of an acknowledgment. It can be revoked within the first sixty (60) days of signature. After 60 days, it can only be rescinded by court order following a hearing. A hearing can be requested by filing a Petition with the court.
A putative father is a man whose legal relationship to a child has not yet been established. This may occur in a situation where the Mother of a child is not married and she alleges someone as the father or the man believes he is the father. Pennsylvania maintains a registry of putative fathers for the purpose of giving a man in such a position notice prior to any termination proceedings. Unmarried parties can agree to execute an acknowledgement of paternity to confirm the legal relationship. This acknowledgment is then submitted to the Department of Vital Records to update the birth records. If the parties are not agreeable to execute the acknowledgement, the alternative course of action is to file a petition for genetic testing.