Paternity and Support Order Establishment
How we legally establish child support orders and paternity.
In order for BCSS to assist you, please complete an Application for Child Support Services. We must have a valid address for the other parent (or alleged parent), which we will verify. We will search national databases using their Full Name, Social Security Number and Date of Birth to locate them.
We will attempt to verify the other parent’s (or alleged parent’s) employment. This information will help us calculate the amount of child support that may be ordered, including the reasonable amount they could pay for health care coverage (or medical support, which is a required section in court orders).
Once your application is received it will be reviewed and a case will be opened. A Child Support worker will be assigned to your case and will work with both parties. You can help us manage your case by providing new information as it becomes available. Accurate information regarding address, phone number, occupation and income can affect our activity.
If you and the child’s other parent were not married at the time of the child’s birth, paternity should be established as early as possible. By establishing paternity your child benefits:
- Financially, through qualifying for child support, certain disability benefits, and inheritance rights
- Medically, through rights to any healthcare benefits and his medical information
- Emotionally, through a sense of identity and security
If paternity has not been established for your child(ren), we will establish paternity before or at the same time as establishing a support order. Paternity is established by marriage, Affidavit of Paternity, or Court Order.
Once a case has been opened you must complete and notarize a paternity questionnaire. If you don’t complete and return the paternity questionnaire:
- The case may be closed
- TANF benefits may be reduced (if being paid out)
We notify the alleged father that he has been named a possible father for the child(ren) and ask him to participate in genetic testing or consent to parentage.
If he does not participate, we will request a court order for genetic testing.
In most cases, we pay for the genetic testing.
Both parents and the child(ren) will be scheduled for genetic testing. We will contact you about this. Safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are strictly followed and we will review them with you.
Results will be sent to both parents within 2-3 weeks of all members being tested.
- If the test is positive, we will take next steps to legally establish paternity as well as an order for support. Once paternity is established, by either a court order or an Affidavit of Paternity, either party may ask the city hall or town clerk, where the child was born, to add the father's name to the child's birth certificate.
- If the test is negative, we will ask the person who applied for services to complete a new application and paternity questionnaire naming another possible father.
Please contact BCSS if you have questions about this process.
You can help us manage your case by providing new information as it becomes available. Accurate information regarding address, phone number, occupation and income can affect our activity.
We need your help and cooperation to prevent:
- delaying the progress of your case,
- closure of your case or
- if you receive TANF, a reduction to your benefits.
What if I already have a court case open?
It is important that we know if any legal action has already been filed with the courts by either party. This could affect how we proceed.
Will child support staff or the state attorney represent me?
The state’s attorney and Child Support staff assigned to your case represent the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (Department) and do not represent you or your child(ren). The state’s attorney and staff act on behalf of the Department to establish paternity; to establish, enforce, and modify child and medical support orders; and (if applicable) to obtain repayment for TANF provided for your child(ren).
We cannot help establish court orders for parenting, visitation, alimony or custody. You must do this separately and may wish to seek the advice of an attorney for these matters.
Who decides what actions will be taken on my case?
The Child Support worker assigned to your case will decide the best actions to take to establish your paternity and child support order.
Specific laws, policies and rules must be adhered to.