当一个已婚妇女生了孩子, the law presumes her husband to be the father of the child; the law regards the husband as the child’s “presumed father.” As long as his status as the presumed father never is successfully challenged, 从法律上讲，他是孩子的父亲. 例如, 如果父母离婚, he has the full right to spend time with the child according to the parties’ Parenting Plan and he has the full obligation to support the child pursuant to the parties’ Order of 孩子的抚养费. Also, inheritance rights as between the child and the presumed father are fully recognized.
然而, 当一个未婚妇女怀了孩子, the law does not presume anybody to be the father of the child. (That is true regardless of whether the woman is cohabiting with a man at the time of the birth.) It may occur that a man is at the hospital during the birth – and he may have therefore signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity and had his name placed upon the child’s Birth Certificate, 称自己是孩子的父亲. In such events, the law regards that man only as the child’s “acknowledged father.” That is a low-level status of fatherhood under the law. 因此, his right to be regarded as the father of the child for all legal purposes requires that his “paternity” (fatherhood) be judicially established in a paternity case. Sometimes the paternity case is initiated by the State or by the mother against an alleged father because child support is being sought from the alleged father. Sometimes the paternity case is initiated by the alleged father himself because he wants to get a Parenting Plan entered with the court, 好让他有时间和孩子在一起. 不管是谁发起的亲子鉴定案, the other party often doesn’t contest the alleged father’s paternity, in which case a court Decree Establishing Paternity is pretty easily obtained. Where the other party does contest the alleged father’s paternity, 法院将下令进行血液测试(DNA测试), to determine whether the child and the alleged father are a DNA match. 如果结果是他们的DNA不匹配, the paternity action will be dismissed with respect to the alleged father. 如果DNA匹配的话, a court Decree Establishing Paternity will be entered, judicially establishing the alleged father to be the father of the child for all legal purposes. The resulting Parenting Plan and Order of 孩子的抚养费 will be entered as part of the paternity case.