Paternity Affidavit Program

The Paternity Affidavit is a free one-page form that can be completed by the child’s biological parents at any time after the child is born.

What is a Paternity Affidavit?

The paternity affidavit is a free form that legally establishes a legal father (example on right). Unmarried parents will receive a paternity affidavit at the hospital where they give birth. The paternity affidavit can be completed by the biological parents of the child at any time after the child is born — there is no age limit to establish paternity through a paternity affidavit.

What is a Legal Father?

The legal father is a man whom the law recognizes as the father of the child.

  • The legal father may be able to take legal steps to get visitation or custody rights. Establishing paternity DOES NOT automatically give a father these rights.
  • The legal father has a duty to help support the child financially. When the parents do not live together, the paternity affidavit can be used to get an order for child and medical support. No further action of paternity is required.

What is the Paternity Affidavit Program?

Every birthing hospital in the state of Iowa is required to provide information to unmarried parents about how to establish paternity. However, there is a lot of important information to communicate to parents during their short hospital stay.

Based on this, a program has been developed to help hospital employees, community organization employees, and unmarried parents to understand the importance of establishing paternity.

For more information, answers, or to schedule a free staff training, please contact Abby Stanek at astanek@dhs.state.ia.us.

I want to learn more!

I am a Hospital/Community Organization Employee

I am a Parent

Additional Resources

View, download, and print these and other resources by visiting additional resources. You can order select educational resources about paternity affidavits by completing this short order form.


The Child Welfare Research & Training Project (CWRTP) provides oversight of the Paternity Affidavit Training Program for the State of Iowa. This includes training development and provision through various methods as well as information distribution for birthing centers throughout the state. On this page, you will find information about paternity affidavits.

For more information, answers, or to schedule a free staff training, please contact Abby Stanek at astanek@dhs.state.ia.us.

To learn more about child support related topics, please visit Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit.