Home » Family Law Services » Paternity


Establishing paternity impacts a broad range of family law issues, including child custody, child support and a father’s rights. At the law firm of Arnel Law Firm in Brooklyn, New York, we have the experience and knowledge to represent you on all matters that involve paternity disputes.

It has become increasingly important to establish paternity in instances where the parents are not married. Once the court finds that a person is the father of a child born out of wedlock, the father has the same parental rights and obligations to the child as if the parents were married when the child was born.

An action for paternity can be brought by the child’s mother, a man who has reason to believe that he is the father, the child, the child’s guardian or the Department of Social Services if the mother is receiving public assistance.

Understanding Paternity Testing In New York

Paternity is generally established in New York Family Court. If a child is born while the parents are married, the legal presumption is that the husband is the father. The burden is on the husband to prove that he is not the father.

In cases where the parents are not married, paternity is established in one of two ways:

  • The father signs an acknowledgment of paternity (a form that is provided to unmarried women when they give birth)
  • A court order is issued once the court is convinced that a father has been identified, either through admission or DNA testing

An unmarried father must establish paternity before seeking court-ordered visitation or child custody rights. Establishing paternity allows a mother to hold a father responsible for child support, and it protects an unmarried father in terms of custody and visitation rights.

Our Brooklyn Lawyers Can Protect Your Child’s Legal Rights

Establishing paternity provides a number of legal rights to the child or children, including health insurance coverage, the right to Social Security benefits, inheritance issues and the right to sue for a father’s wrongful death.

If you need more information about paternity and the legal rights and obligations that paternity provides, contact our experienced attorneys and schedule a free consultation. We will review the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take.