Paternity is the state of being a father to a child.
According to North Dakota Century Code Section 14-20-07(2), “[t]he father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:
- An unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 14-20-10;
- An effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Sections 14-20-11 through 14-20-24, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;
- An adjudication of the man’s paternity;
- Adoption of the child by the man; or
- The man having consented to assisted reproduction by a women under Sections 14-20-59 through 14-20-65 which resulted in the birth of the child.”
Under North Dakota law, when is a man presumed to be the father of a child?
According to North Dakota Century Code Section 14-20-10(1), “[a] man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
- He and the mother of the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage;
- He and the mother of the child were married to each other and the child is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, divorce, or after a decree of separation;
- Before the birth of the child, he and the mother of the child married each other in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, divorce, or after a decree of separation;
- After the birth of the child, he and the mother of the child married each other in apparent compliance with law, whether or not the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
- The assertion is in a record filed with the state department of health;
- He agreed to be and is named as the child's father on the child's birth certificate; or
- He promised in a record to support the child as his own; or
- For the first two years of the child's life, he resided in the same household with the child and openly held out the child as his own.”
What is acknowledgment of paternity?
The North Dakota Acknowledgment of Paternity form allows a biological father to establish paternity when he isn’t married to the mother. The mother and biological father must both sign the form.
If the mother is married to someone else who isn’t the father of the child, her spouse must also complete the Denial of Paternity section of the form.
The North Dakota Department of Vital Records has more information about the form.
What is paternity adjudication?
Paternity adjudication is a North Dakota state district court civil action to establish, or adjudicate, paternity. In other words, a judge determines who the father of the child is.
After the judge has established, or adjudicated, paternity, the judge can also establish custody, visitation, and child support for the child as part of the paternity adjudication action.
A paternity adjudication civil action can be started before a child is born, but the judge can’t make a final decision until after the child is born.
What is paternity rescission?
Paternity rescission is a North Dakota state district court civil action by one of the individuals who signed the Acknowledgement of Paternity form to cancel or challenge the acknowledgement of paternity.
What is the deadline to bring a paternity adjudication civil action?
If the child doesn’t have a presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father, a civil action to adjudicate paternity may be brought at any time. However, if the child is 18 years old or older, the child must bring the action.
If the child has a presumed father, an action to adjudicate paternity must be brought no later than two years after the birth of the child. (See Section 14-20-42 for the limited exception to the two year deadline.)
If the child already has an adjudicated father, only an individual who wasn’t a party in the original paternity adjudication case can bring their own paternity adjudication action. The action must be brought no later than two years after the effective date of the paternity adjudication.
What is the deadline to bring a paternity rescission civil action?
Since the child has an acknowledged father, a paternity rescission action may be brought by one of the individuals who signed the acknowledgement of paternity or denial of paternity. The action must be brought no later than the earlier of:
- 60 days after the effective date of the acknowledgment or denial, as provided in North Dakota Century Code Section 14-20-14; or
- The date of the first hearing, in a proceeding to which the signatory is a party, before a court to adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding that establishes support. (See Section 14-20-18 for the limited exception to this deadline.)
Guides for Paternity
Forms are not available through the North Dakota Legal Self Help Center for any paternity civil actions.
If you decide to represent yourself, you’ll need to create legal documents yourself. The General-Use forms in the District Court Civil Action Section of this website may be used as a starting point for creating your own legal documents.
Paternity Research Guides:
Selected Statutes (Laws) & Rules
Following are legal research starting points related to paternity. You may need to conduct additional legal research into your legal issue. See the Legal Research Section of this website.
- Chapter 14-09 of the North Dakota Century Code
- Chapter 14-20 of the North Dakota Century Code
- Chapter 23-02.1 of the North Dakota Century Code
- The North Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure
- The North Dakota Rules of Court
- The North Dakota Rules of Evidence
Following are other resources related to paternity that may be of interest.
- General Use Checklists and Forms
- Service Instructions and Forms
- North Dakota Child Support Division
- North Dakota Department of Vital Records
If you do not understand any of this information, or if you have trouble filling out any of the forms located here, please see an attorney for help.
The information provided on and obtained from this site does not constitute the official record of the Court. This information is provided as a service to the general public. Any user of this information is hereby advised that it is being provided "as is". The information provided may be subject to errors or omissions. Visitors to this site agree that the Court is not liable for errors or omissions of any of the information provided.
If you have a question relating to a case that is already filed please contact the clerk of court for the county.