Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Established in 1976

Long Island Paternity Lawyer

Paternity establishment refers to determining a child's biological father. Under paternity law, fathers are provided with legally enforced rights and responsibilities. If unmarried parents bear a child, that child does not have a legal father. For reasons such as these, paternity tests can be beneficial to parents and children alike. Oftentimes, paternity issues arise during conflicts related to child custody, child support, and divorce. However, once a man is legally identified as a child's father, he must take responsibility for the needs and well-being of his child.

This might entail some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Financial responsibilities
  • Moral responsibilities
  • Visitation responsibilities
  • And more

Establishing paternity is important in various situations. For mothers assuming the role of primary custody, these mothers may need financial help to provide their children with healthy and productive living standards. By establishing paternity, a mother may receive help from the father of the child. For fathers, it may be important to establish paternity in order to help those fathers receive visitation rights. Without legal paternity determination, a father can be denied visitation rights in order to protect the child’s well-being and safety.

Establishing Paternity

Although Paternity can be established in a number of ways, the legal options vary on a state-to-state basis. In New York, paternity can be established in one of three ways.

Below are the different options to establish paternity available in New York:

  • If a man and woman are married, it is presumed that the husband is the father of any child conceived throughout the duration of the marriage. This position may be challenged in family court.
  • A man and woman may sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, which identifies the man as the father of the child.
  • Paternity can be established through the issuance of a court order. By issuing a court order, involved parties generally must submit to a DNA test to establish paternity of the child in question unless a finding of paternity is consented to by all parties. People generally seek out a court order when the identity of the father is uncertain.

Acknowledgment of Paternity

In addition, when two people are unwed and they conceive a child together, they may sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This form identifies the man as the biological father of the child. It may be completed after the mother gives birth in the hospital, or the form may be completed at a later date at the Department of Social Services. Once the Acknowledgement of Paternity form is completed, the father's name will be listed on the child's birth certificate, and the father will have parental rights.

How it Relates to Fathers' Rights

In some cases, a man may believe he is the father of a child, but the mother will deny this claim or prohibit the alleged father from seeing his child. In these cases, it is in the man's best interest to hire one of our family law lawyers in Great Neck. We can inform the client of his rights, request a paternity court order, and represent the client during any legal proceedings regarding child custody and child support.

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