Differences Between Recognition Of Parentage And Paternity Adjudication

There are different ways in which you may be recognized as the father of a child if you aren't married to his or her mother. It depends on your state, but two of the most popular ways are recognition of parentage (RoP) and paternity adjudication (PA). Here are the major differences between these two processes:


One of the crucial differences is the manner in which the two are obtained. Recognition of parentage (RoP) is an informal process that does not even involve going to court. Both parents sit down and sign a form that is then notarized and filed with the government. It is just an agreement between two parents establishing who the father is, and it is only used if the parents aren't married.

A paternity adjudication (PA), on the other hand, is a formal and legal process that involves filing a court petition. In this process, you are declared the father of a child by a court order that also grants your rights as a parent to the child.


As hinted above, a RoP is an agreement between two people as to who the father of a child is. As such, it can only be managed with both parties consent. Therefore, if the mother refuses to acknowledge you as the father, then you can't get a RoP. This is different from a PA, which is a court order you can get even when the other parent dissents.

Child Support

Getting recognized as the father via a RoP does not mean that you are also required to start paying child support since it is an informal process. Once there is a court order of paternity adjudication, however, then you are the legal father of the child. This means you are expected to pay the requisite child support contained in the order.

Legal Representation and Speed

Lastly, you aren't guaranteed legal representation for a RoP, even if you are a low income earner. If you want to have a lawyer, then you must pay for one. The good news is that it is a fast process as long as both parents agree.

A PA, on the other hand, is a court process that takes time. Its upside is that you may qualify for free legal representation if you are a low-income earner. If you don't qualify, then you are expected to hire one at your cost.

Which process do you think would be better for your case? Usually, a candid consultation with a family attorney will help you to understand your state's laws on paternity and chart the best way forward.

To learn more, contact a family law office like LaCroix & Hand PC