What is the Paternity Opportunity Program?

The Paternity Opportunity Program (POP) is a program stated to allow fathers to acknowledge that they are the new born child’s father. The program started in 1995 and has been beneficial to many fathers and has harmed as many if not more fathers.

The program is only for unmarried parties because there is a presumption of paternity when the parties are married. The program was setup by Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). The question is what was the real purpose of this program? Was it to help parents or to help DCSS collect child support and welfare reimbursement (a method for the state to re-coop welfare paid to a party and make the other parent reimburse the state).

The first scenario is to show how this program can work against a father. There you are in the hospital with all of the family and finally the child is born and everyone is excited. You have been told for months that you are the father and now there is a nurse asking you to sign the birth certificate and a POP declaration. What can you do, but sign? Then a month after the child is born the parties split up and mom files with DCSS for child support, which is ordered. Next mother moves in with the biological father and they refuse for you to visit with the child. So you stop paying and you think it is done. Two years later DCSS suspends your driver’s license and passport. DCSS then files contempt charges for non-payment of support. Now you are mad and going to take care of this matter. However, pursuant to Family Code section 7575 you only have two years to set-aside the POP declaration after an order for custody or child support has been established. Based on the aforementioned DCSS will not allow for a DNA test and you are stuck paying for another person’s child, although mother and biological dad reside together and admit it is bio-dad’s child.

It is easy to create other scenarios of disaster because we help people resolve those issues on a daily basis, or tell them that it is too late. Before it is too late, consult with a Family Law attorney to protect your rights.