Paternity is the legal fatherhood of a child. Establishing paternity can have a significant impact on family law cases as the legal father shares rights and obligations with the child’s mother. If parents are married when a child is born, the state of New York considers the husband the legal father, making paternity automatic.
In the case of unmarried couples, establishing paternity can be simple or complicated depending on the specific situation and relationship dynamics. Although unmarried parents can choose to establish paternity at birth, further paperwork and legal proceedings may be necessary later in the child’s life if nothing was filed at the time of their birth.
A man who believes to be a child’s biological father has the right to pursue legal action to establish paternity. Once a court issues an “Order of Filiation,” the father can seek custody arrangements and provide child support.
Other individuals who can pursue legal action to establish paternity include the child’s mother, the child, and the child’s guardian.
What Are a Father’s Rights and Obligations in New York?
Once a court establishes paternity, the father shares rights and responsibilities with the child’s mother and must support the child until they turn 21 or become emancipated.
The father can also petition for shared physical custody and visitation schedules for frequent parenting time with the child, which also includes regular communication. He has the right to share legal custody, which allows him to make important decisions in the child’s life.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity for the Child
Establishing paternity offers several benefits to the child such as:
- Financial support
- Health insurance
- Social Security and other benefits
- Access to family medical history
In the event of their father dying a wrongful death, the child also has the right to file a claim to hold the responsible parties accountable and receive compensation for their trauma and loss of resources.
Acknowledgement of Paternity
The easiest way for unmarried parents to establish paternity is to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the time of the child’s birth. This official form is available at hospitals, family courts, and the local office of the Department of Social Services.
Parents can decide to sign and submit the form at any time before the child turns 21 or becomes emancipated.
Court Petition and Paternity Testing
If the mother objects to the father’s claim of paternity and refuses to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, an unmarried father has the option to file a paternity petition to the family court. Upon review of the request, a judge can order a DNA test to verify the father’s claim.
DNA testing usually involves a quick swab inside the cheek of both the father and the child. The test is performed by an authorized doctor. If the results confirm the alleged paternity, the court can issue an Order of Filiation. If testing disproves the man’s claim, the court dismisses the petition.
Let Arnel Law Firm Help You Establish Paternity in Brooklyn and Kings Counties
Working with a reputable family law attorney can make a positive difference in the paternity process. At Arnel Law Firm, our team understands how each situation is unique and how such sensitive matters require compassion and personalized counsel. During your initial consultation, you can expect a careful review of your case and a thorough discussion of your needs and goals.
We can help you prepare and submit paperwork. While we strive to resolve situations via negotiations, our team is ready to go to trial if necessary. Advocating for your rights and your child’s best interests is central to our work.
If you need an experienced family law attorney to help you establish paternity in Brooklyn or Kings County, contact Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 to schedule a consultation.