About the Program
What is the Paternity Opportunity Program?
The Paternity Opportunity Program (POP) is designed to help a child of unmarried parents establish a legal relationship with his or her father. The Program was conceived by the State of New Jersey, in response to a federal mandate, to make it easier for parents to acknowledge paternity voluntarily using simple in-hospital processes at the time of birth. Parents can also voluntarily acknowledge paternity later, after they leave the hospital at their local Registrar or County Welfare Agency (CWA) office. Whether at the hospital or later at the local Registrar or CWA office, parents can establish paternity by completing the Certificate of Parentage (COP) form.
Overview of Paternity Establishment
The establishment of paternity is the process of creating a legal relationship between a father and child when the child’s parents are unmarried. If a child is born to an unmarried mother, the child does not have a legal father and the father’s name will not appear on the birth certificate unless the parents take steps to establish paternity. If the mother is married at the time of birth, her husband is the presumed father of the child and paternity is not an issue.