How Do You Establish Paternity in New York?
Paternity refers to the legal fatherhood of a child. There are various benefits to establishing paternity, including strengthening the bond between the child and his/her father. Paternity also gives a father certain rights and responsibilities such as child support and child custody. So, how do you go about establishing paternity in New York if you are an unmarried couple? Today, we will go over how to establish paternity in New York State and the importance of doing so.
Ways to Establish Paternity
If a mother is married when her child is born, her husband is immediately assumed to be the child’s legal father. Additional ways to establish paternity include the following:
Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity
This happens if the mother is not married and the biological father and her would like to name him as the legal father. This cannot work if the mother is married to someone else.
Go to court and have an order of filtration issued
You can also go through a judicial process and go to court to establish paternity.
Get a court order established through an administrative agency
A local child support agency can also conduct a DNA test and establish paternity though a court order.
How to Establish Paternity
The way that you will establish paternity will depend on your circumstances. The easiest way to obtain paternity is to have your name put on the child’s birth certificate once the child is born. You can also get a court order or have an administrative agency do this for you. Once paternity has been established, a father can pursue child custody and visitation rights. He will also be required to legally support the child with child support payments.
How Does an Acknowledgement of Paternity Work?
An Acknowledgement of Paternity is a form signed by the mother and father of a child. It is provided to the parents after the child is born at the hospital; however, the form can also be signed at any point before the child turns 21 years old. You can access this form at a family court or your local Department of Social Services as well.
If you sign this form accidentally or make a mistake, you must file a petition within 60 days of the date it was signed to petition the court to vacate this acknowledgement. You must also show why this happened, whether due to duress or fraud, you need to provide a reason why you are taking back your Acknowledgement of Paternity.
How Will the Court Determine Paternity?
If a mother and the alleged father cannot agree on paternity, the court will do so for them by ordering a DNA test. If the DNA test shows that the man is not the biological father of the child, the petition will be dismissed. If the DNA test shows that the man is the biological father of the child, the court will issue an Order of Filiation. A hearing may also be held if the mother and father continue to disagree.
If the mother was married to another man when the child was conceived or born, the court may refuse to order DNA testing due to equitable estoppel. What this means is that if the court feels it would go against the child’s best interest to disrupt or challenge the existing parental bond and relationship of the child and his/her alleged father, it will not conduct such a test.
What Happens After Paternity Has Been Established?
After paternity has been established, either parent can file a petition for child custody, visitation, and/or child support.
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