The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Arkansas

Date: June 2022


Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-701

'Father' means the biological male parent of a child. 'Putative father' means any man not legally presumed or adjudicated to be the biological father of a child but who claims or is alleged to be the father of the child.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-702

There is established in the Division of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services a Putative Father Registry. The purpose of the registry is to entitle putative other parents to notice of legal proceedings pertaining to the child for whom the putative other parent has registered.

A putative other parent shall establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the child before the putative other parent's rights attach.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-10-120; 9-10-108(b)

A person is the other parent of a child for all intents and purposes if the person and the birth parent execute an acknowledgment of parentage of the child pursuant to § 20-18-408 or 20-18-409, or a similar acknowledgment executed during the child's minority.

Acknowledgments of parentage shall constitute a conclusive finding of parentage and shall be recognized by the chancery courts as creating a parent and child relationship between the other parent and child.

Such acknowledgments of parentage also shall be recognized as forming the basis for establishment and enforcement of a child support or visitation order without a further proceeding to establish parentage.

The appearance of the name of the other parent with their consent on the certificate of birth, the Social Security account number of the alleged other parent filed with their consent with the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health of this State pursuant to § 20-18-407, a certified copy of the certificate or records on which the name of the alleged other parent was entered with their consent from the vital records department of another State, or the registration of the other parent with their consent in the putative father registry of this State pursuant to § 20-18-702 shall constitute a prima facie case of establishment of parentage, and the burden of proof shall shift to the putative other parent to rebut such in a proceeding for parentage establishment.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-702

Upon receipt of a written statement signed and acknowledged by the registrant before a notary public, the registry shall record the following information:

  • The name, address, and Social Security number of any person who claims to be the other parent of a child for whom parentage is not presumed or has not been established by a court
  • The name, last known address, and Social Security number, if known, of the birth parent of the child
  • The name of the child, if born, and the location and date of birth, if known
  • The date and time of receipt, which the division shall note on the written statement signed and acknowledged by the registrant

The division shall provide a form to be used by the registrant. There shall be no fee required of the registrant to file the affidavit.

The registry may accept the information prior to the birth of the child or at any time prior to the filing of a petition for adoption.

The registry shall forward a copy of the information to the birth parent as notification that the person has registered with the registry. The registry shall maintain cross-reference indices by the name of the birth parent and the name of the child, if known.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-703

Information supplied to the Putative Father Registry may be revoked by a written statement that is signed and acknowledged by the registrant before a notary public. The statement shall include a declaration that, to the best of the registrant's knowledge and belief, they are not the other parent of the named child or that a court has adjudicated parentage and someone other than the registrant has been determined to be the other parent of the child.

Revocation shall be effective only after the birth of the child.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-704

The Division of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services shall make available to attorneys the telephone number of the Putative Father Registry for purposes of inquiry for a putative other parent's name and address contained in the registry. Information contained in the registry shall be admissible in any court proceeding in any court in this State.

Upon receipt of a written request, information from the registry for a named putative other parent, birth parent, or child may be furnished to the following:

  • The registrant
  • The birth parent
  • The child
  • The Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Revenue Division of the Department of Finance and Administration
  • A prosecuting attorney or an attorney acting on behalf of their client in litigation involving the determination of parentage or support for the child or an adoption of the child

Upon request, the division shall furnish, through electronic data exchange or otherwise, a copy of the registry to the office for use in establishing parentage and support obligations. Otherwise, registry information shall be considered confidential and may not be disclosed. Registry information shall not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act of 1967, § 25-19-101, et seq.