The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 15: Domestic Relations

Chapter 5: DESERTION AND SUPPORT

Sub-Chapter 3A: Parentage Proceedings

15 V.S.A. § 307. Voluntary acknowledgment of parentage



§ 307. Voluntary acknowledgment of parentage

(a) In any case in which the parents of a child are not married, parents of the child may acknowledge parentage by filling out and signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form prescribed and made available by the department of health and by filing the form with the department of health. The Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form shall be confidential and shall include the parents' mailing addresses and Social Security numbers, instructions for filing the form with the department of health, information concerning the legal implications of completing the form, including the procedure for establishing parentage, parental rights and responsibilities and child support obligations.

(b) The department of health shall make Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage forms generally available to the public through hospitals, medical offices, schools and the courts. Upon adoption of the uniform national Voluntary Acknowledgment Form by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it shall be adopted by the department of health. The form shall contain language emphasizing the gravity of the effects of acknowledging parentage and the rights and responsibilities which attach. The form shall also contain the following statement: "Parentage creates specific legal obligations. This signed form may be used in court in support of a parentage claim. You should seek legal advice before signing this form if you have any questions or if you are confused about your rights and responsibilities."

(c) The department of health shall only make the completed Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form available to the parties who signed it and the office of child support. The office of child support shall not have access to the form except for the purpose of initiating a parentage or support proceeding on behalf of a dependent child as defined in section 3901(4) of Title 33, in which case the department of health shall make available to the office of child support upon explicit request, the appropriate information.

(d) A witnessed Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form signed by both biological parents under this section shall be a presumptive legal determination of parentage upon filing with the department of health provided no court has previously adjudicated parentage or no legal presumption of legitimacy otherwise applies.

(e) In an action brought under this chapter, documents on file with the court that contain the Social Security number of the parties shall be released only to the parties or the state if it is involved in the matter.

(f) A person who has signed a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form may rescind the acknowledgment within 60 days after signing the form or prior to a judicial determination of parentage, whichever occurs first. The rescission shall be in writing and shall be filed with the department of health. If a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form is not timely rescinded as provided for in this subsection, the determination of parentage may be challenged only pursuant to Rule 60 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure. During the pendency of such a challenge, the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations, of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown. (Added 1989, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 30; amended 1993, No. 105, § 4; 1993, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 1997, No. 63, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.)