General Information on Paternity

Paternity Establishment Services

Paternity Services that the Child Support Enforcement Service does not Provide

Paternity Case Processing

Paternity Genetic Testing


General Information on Paternity

Paternity is at issue for a child if the biological parents of the child are not married to each other at the time of birth of a child and paternity has not subsequently been established.

If the mother is married to someone who is not the biological father of the child, paternity for the child is at issue. However, the husband of the mother is the legal father of the child until such time as another man is established as the legal father and/or paternity of the husband is disestablished by court order. See Voluntary Establishment of Paternity brochure.

Paternity may be established by through the “Voluntary Establishment” of paternity process. This process began in Hawaii on July 1, 1999. If the biological parents complete the “Voluntary Establishment of Paternity by Parents” form at the birthing hospital or Department of Health and the father’s name appears on the birth certificate, then paternity has been “Voluntarily Established.”

The Federal Government, in its welfare reform acts, has required all states to have “Voluntary Establishment” of paternity programs.

Paternity Establishment Services

The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) provides paternity establishment services to applicants for CSEA services and to cases referred to CSEA by the Department of Human Services. You may write, visit, or call the Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency at one of the branch locations to request an application.

CSEA can provide paternity establishment services in the situation where the mother is married to someone who is not the father of the child. Two applications for CSEA services must be completed and submitted in this situation. One application names the biological father as the father and the other names the husband, the legal father, as the father.

Paternity Services CSEA Does Not Provide

CSEA does not provide services only to disestablish a husband, the legal father, as the father of a child born during the marriage.

If paternity has already been established for one man by court order or “Voluntary Establishment,” CSEA will not provide services to disestablish that man as the father and establish another man as the father.

If paternity is already established, CSEA will not file paternity complaints or motions in court for child support, custody, visitation or any other reason.  If child support is requested, an application should be made to CSEA.  CSEA will process the case through its Administrative Process.  CSEA cannot help you with any other issues.

CSEA does not provide genetic testing services to the public. CSEA will only provide its genetic testing services in CSEA paternity establishment cases. CSEA will not provide genetic testing in any case where paternity has already been established by court judgment or order or when there has been a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity.

Paternity Case Processing

Once CSEA has an application for services and a good address on the mother and alleged father of the child, the case is referred by CSEA to its Family Support Divisions on Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu, and to the branch office on Maui for the establishment of paternity, child & medical support, and past support. There are Family Support Divisions on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.

The appropriate office will file a “Complaint for Paternity” naming the mother and alleged father as defendants.  If there is more than one alleged father, a legal father (husband) or a caretaker, those persons will also be named as defendants in the Complaint.

The applicant for CSEA services is asked to cooperate with CSEA in the establishment of paternity. This includes appearing at the office of the Family Support Division to accept service of the Complaint, attending hearings as notified and submitting to genetic testing if required.

The other defendants in the case are served with the “Complaint for Paternity.”  Service of the Complaint sets a court date for the case.

The issues in a paternity case are:  fatherhood; current child support and medical support/insurance; past support; birth expenses; genetic testing costs;  father’s name on the birth certificate; name change; custody; and visitation.

CSEA is only concerned with the issues of paternity (fatherhood), current child and medical support, past support owed to Department of Human Services, adding the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate, and reimbursement of genetic testing costs.

If the defendants and CSEA can reach an agreement on all issues in a paternity case, they can enter into a “Consent Judgment of Paternity” which is filed in the court.

If no agreement is reached, a hearing or trial is held and the judge decides the issues. Once the issues are decided by the court, a “Judgment of Paternity “is filed.

CSEA represents the interest of the State of Hawaii in ensuring that all children have two parents and adequate child support as determined by the Hawaii Amended Child Support Guidelines. CSEA is not the attorney for the applicant for CSEA services.

Defendants in CSEA paternity cases may hire private attorneys to represent them at any point during the pendency of the paternity proceeding.

Paternity Genetic Testing

In a filed paternity case, any named defendant, or CSEA, can request a genetic test.  CSEA has a contract with a certified laboratory to provide genetic testing (DNA) in its cases at a reasonable cost.  CSEA pays the cost of the test subject to reimbursement. Usually the person who requested the test is ordered to pay.

The court case is usually dismissed if the alleged father is excluded by genetic testing. The excluded alleged father is not normally required to reimburse CSEA for the genetic testing costs.

CSEA will only provide its genetic testing services in CSEA paternity establishment cases. CSEA will not provide genetic testing in any case where paternity has already been established by court judgment or order or when there has been a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity

If people want genetic testing outside of the court, they may voluntarily agree to paternity testing. Accredited laboratories may be found by consulting the yellow pages of the telephone book or the internet.

For more information about Paternity visit:
Section 584 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes

Frequently Asked Questions  – Paternity