Paternity Laws in PA

Paternity Laws in PA

By: Melissa D. Towsey, Esquire

“Paternity” is how fatherhood is legally defined under the laws of Pennsylvania. When a child is born to an unmarried woman in Pennsylvania, there is no legal relationship between the child and the father. Paternity can be established two ways: (1) by agreement of the parents; or (2) by court ordered paternity testing. Paternity can be established if mother and father agree and an Acknowledgment of Paternity form has been signed by both parents and witnessed by a third party. 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 5103

The paternity of a child can also be established by a court. 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 4343. When paternity is disputed by mother or father, a petition to determine paternity can be filed with the court. A judge may then enter an order for genetic testing to scientifically determine the child’s paternity. The test is a buccal swab, which is a swab of the inner cheek. “Genetic test results indicating a 99% or greater probability that the alleged father is the father of the child shall create a presumption of paternity which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence that the results of the genetic tests are not reliable in that particular case.” § 4343(c)(2).

An action to determine paternity may also result when the mother files a Complaint about Child Support or either party files a Complaint about Child Custody.

To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877.


About the author

About Melissa Towsey

Melissa graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a double major in Sociology and Foreign Affairs. After working for several years as a paralegal in Washington, D.C., she attended The University of Villanova School of Law and graduated in 2010. During law school, Melissa was involved in several public interest organizations and published an article in Villanova’s Environmental Law Journal, “Something Stinks: The Need for Environmental Regulation of Puppy Mills” 21 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 159 (2010) After law school, Melissa clerked for the Honorable Thomas G. Parisi, Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division in the Court of Common Pleas, Berks County. Melissa is the supervising attorney of the firm’s Appellate Unit. The Appellate Unit handles all aspects of the appellate process for family law cases as well as advanced research within the firm. Melissa and her husband, Paul, reside in Montgomery County with their two cats Wembley and Gobo. In her spare time, she enjoys audiobooks, barbeques, and watching action movies.