Paternity in Nevada

How do you establish paternity and why is it important for your child in Nevada?

By , Attorney

Learn how you can establish paternity and why it's beneficial for your child in Nevada.

In the land known for drive-thru weddings and round-the-clock entertainment, children can come as quickly as some fathers disappear. A father's lack of involvement can be a result of his own decisions or because the child's mother is preventing him from being a part of his child's life.

In situations where a child is born to unmarried parents, it's important to establish paternity for the benefit of the child. In Nevada, the establishment of paternity is what gives mothers the right to seek financial support and fathers the right to visit and maintain a relationship with their child.

This article gives a general overview of paternity in Nevada. If you have questions about paternity after reading this article, contact a local family law attorney for advice.

What is Paternity?

Paternity is fatherhood. By establishing paternity in Nevada, you are establishing the identity of a child's legal father.

How Paternity is Established in Nevada

A child born during a marriage (or within 10 months of the mother's divorce or the death of the mother's husband) is presumed to be the child of that husband. If the mother was not married at the time of conception or birth, paternity can be established by an acknowledgment or by a court order.

When the parents agree on paternity

Voluntary acknowledgment is the easiest way to establish paternity in Nevada. To do this, both parents must sign the "Voluntary Acknowledgment Form" in the presence of a notary. The completed Voluntary Acknowledgment is filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics and the father's name will be added to the child's birth certificate.

When someone is contesting paternity

If the mother and alleged father can't agree on paternity, a paternity case can be filed in the district court. Any of the following individuals or entities can bring a paternity case in Nevada:

  • the child's mother
  • the man who believes he's the father
  • the child's guardian or legal custodian, or
  • the Nevada State Welfare Division (if the child is receiving state assistance).

After a paternity action is filed, the court may require the mother, child and alleged father to undergo genetic testing if the alleged father denies paternity or the mother is uncertain which of two or more persons is the father. If an alleged father refuses to submit to genetic testing, the court may consider his noncooperation as evidence of paternity.

When to File a Paternity Case

In Nevada, a child can file a paternity action at any time, but parents must file a paternity case by the child's 21st birthday.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity helps establish your child's sense of belonging. It's important that your child knows both parents. By establishing paternity, you are establishing your child's legal right to emotional and financial support from both parents. Also, the child becomes eligible to receive inheritance benefits from both parents including veteran's benefits and Social Security.

For a father, paternity gives him the right to be a father to his child. It can mean custody rights (subject to a court's determination of the child's best interests), including visitation rights and the opportunity to make educational and medical decisions on behalf of his child.

Click here to learn more about child custody and the best interests of the child in Nevada.

For mothers, paternity can mean that the mother gets child support and health insurance from the child's father to assist in clothing, feeding and taking care of her child. A mother can also ask for past due child support and medical costs associated with the child's birth.

There is no fee in Nevada for establishing paternity.

Click here to learn more about paternity in Nevada.


Nevada maintains an extensive self-help website for parents who want to file a paternity case on their own. Go to for forms and more information. If you have other questions about establishing paternity in Nevada, contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance.

You can read the full text of the law on paternity in Nevada in the Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 126.

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