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Last Updated on: 18th August 2023, 05:11 pm
Establishing Paternity in New York
Ways to Establish Paternity
When a baby is born in paternity can be established in one of three ways:
- If the parents are married. The husband is presumed to be the father of the child.
- A man who is not married to the mother has two ways to establish paternity. The first is to sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This is a legal document allows the man to declare himself the baby’s father. This is done at the hospital shortly after the baby is born. However, this is only one step. The acknowledgement is sent to the courts. The New York family court creates an “order of filiation.” This order establishes the paternity.
- The third way paternity is established is via a paternity petition. A paternity petition is an option if the alleged father does not sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” The petition starts the process of establishing paternity via a court hearing.
All paternity laws are outlined in New York’s Family Court Act 515-a.
Who Can File a Paternity Petition in New York?
Only certain people or agencies can file a paternity petition to establish who fathered a child. This list includes:
- Alleged father
- An individual in a parental relationship with the child
- The child’s next of kin
- Child’s guardian
- Representative from the New York welfare agency
- Representative from a charitable organization
Does Establishing Paternity Involve a DNA Test?
Yes. The court may choose to have the child and alleged father undergo DNA testing. The court could order blood testing instead of a DNA test.
A DNA test is not automatically requested before the hearing. In the first hearing, each side presents their case. Presenting evidence also includes showing evidence to show whether the alleged father is or is not the child’s biological father. At the end of the hearing, he may admit to fathering the child. If not, the magistrate over the case may order a DNA or blood test. The results will be revealed at another hearing.
If the test results reveal he is the father paternity is established. Other issues related to the child such as child support will be established at a separate court hearing. If he is not proven to be the father, the paternity petition ends. He does not have to pay child support.
An Order of Filiation is Necessary to Establish Paternity
If the man was not married to the mother at the time the child was born, he is not obligated to pay child support. He has no legal right to make a child custody agreement or visit with the child. The only way he is obligated to pay child support or can seek child custody is if an Order of Filiation is made by the court.
If he is proven to be the father of the child during a paternity petition, the court will make an order of filiation.
What if the Husband is not the Father or the Father Regrets Signing the Acknowledgement of Paternity?
In both of those cases, the father has the legal to vacate the Acknowledgement of Paternity. A man has 60 days after the child’s birth to rescind the acknowledgement. If he finds out later he is not the father, he is still allowed to rescind the Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, he must show proof that he signed in error such as fraud, coercion or duress.
Contact a New York Paternity Attorney about Establishing Paternity for Your Child
If you would like to know more about establishing paternity or need legal representation, contact use. We will discuss your case and tell you how we will proceed in getting the answers you need.
What’s the law on Paternity in New York?
When a child is born, it’s important to establish paternity as soon as possible. This determines who the legal father of the child is, which ensures that the father has the right to see his child and be part of that child’s life. Establishing paternity is also necessary to ensure that the father supports his child.
Paternity with Married Couples
Paternity is simplest when a married couple has a child, because the husband is presumed to be the legal father unless he or his wife state otherwise. If neither of them argue paternity, then the husband will be established as the father, giving him parental rights and requiring that he supports the child.
If there is another man who believes that he is the biological father of the child, then he can file a petition with a family court to establish himself as the legal father. He will need to provide evidence, and the court will likely order a DNA test if it believes that he could be telling the truth. If he is established as the biological father, then he may receive parental rights and an obligation to support the child.
Paternity with Unmarried Couples
Paternity can be more difficult with unmarried couples, and in these situations, there is no presumption that anyone is the father. If a man believes he is the father, then he can sign an acknowledgement of paternity to establish himself as the legal father. This is done most often at the hospital when the child is born, but it can be done at any time.
It’s simple enough for a man to sign an acknowledgement of paternity when he and the mother are in agreement, but it’s more challenging when the two disagree on paternity. A mother can’t put down a man as the father on an acknowledgement of paternity without his consent. This means that if a man refuses to sign the acknowledgement of paternity, then the mother will need to petition the family court and have him served. She’ll present her evidence, and the court will likely order a DNA test to see if the man is really the father. If the DNA test comes back a match, then paternity is established.
If a man believes he is the biological father but the mother won’t let him sign an acknowledgement of paternity, then he will need to go through the same process of petitioning the court, providing evidence, and taking a DNA test.
Who Can File a Petition for Paternity?
There are several different parties who have the right to file a petition for paternity. The mother obviously can, as well as anyone who claims they are the biological father. The child can. If the child has a guardian or someone else in a parental relationship with them, either could file a petition.
Representatives who work at public welfare programs or charitable organizations can also file a petition for paternity if a single mother is receiving benefits from the program. These programs typically require single mothers to list who they believe the father could be before providing benefits. They do this because it’s the father’s responsibility to support his child, and a welfare program or charitable organization shouldn’t bear the brunt of the support obligation simply because paternity hasn’t been established.
Why It’s Important to Establish Paternity
The primary reason to establish paternity is so that the child has a father. Although the father isn’t required to spend any time with his child, he will be required to pay a portion of his income to the mother as child support. For a mother to get any support, she’ll need to establish paternity for her child.
If the father does want to see his child, the only way he can ensure this happens is by establishing paternity for himself. Without that, the mother could deny him any visitation or custody. Once paternity is established, the court can require that the mother and father set up a custody arrangement.
It’s important to note that once paternity is established, it’s not easy to change it, which means the man acknowledging himself as the father should be absolutely sure that’s correct. If a man signs an acknowledgement of paternity without a DNA test and later finds out he is not the biological father, he could still be kept as the legal father by the state because it’s considered to be in the best interest of the child. That would mean he’s still required to support the child. Fortunately, DNA tests have made establishing paternity much simpler and more convenient, as it can be done with just one swab of the cheek.