Sometimes men and women find themselves in situations where a woman becomes pregnant and there is uncertainty about paternity – and this applies to both married and unmarried individuals.
A married woman may have separated from her husband, but continued sleeping with him and started a fling with her coworker. When she became pregnant, she asked herself, “Who’s the father, my husband or my friend from work?”
A couple going through a divorce may discover that the wife is pregnant and even though the wife is 100% certain her husband is the father because he’s the only man in her life, the husband may have his doubts.
Note: If a mother is married while a baby is conceived and born, her husband is automatically the child’s legal father, even if he’s not the child’s biological father. The only way around this is for a paternity action to be started and for the court to order a DNA test.
When Single People Are Uncertain
A single woman may be dating two men at once. When she becomes pregnant, she tries to do the math in her head and she “thinks” she knows who is the baby’s father, but she’s not confident about it.
Or, a single woman may be sure of who the father is because she knows the timeline of her encounters, but the alleged father wants to be certain he is the child’s biological father before he signs an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form.
Paying child support for 21 years is a long time, and it makes sense why an alleged father would want to be sure before he makes such a huge commitment. Please be aware that the AOP form can only be filed by unmarried parents in New York.
Who Can File a Paternity Action?
A paternity action can be filed by the child’s mother, the man who is being told he’s the child’s father, the man who believes he is the child’s father, by the woman’s husband who is not sure he’s the child’s biological father, by the child, or by a child’s legal guardian.
If the parties are not married, the court is not authorized to issue orders for child support, child custody, or visitation until paternity has been established. Because of this, DNA testing is recommended whenever either party has any doubt about who the child’s biological father is. Fortunately, genetic testing can resolve these doubts.