Establishing paternity is one of the earliest and most critical family law issues to resolve. Whether you are a mother seeking to establish paternity to obtain child support or a father looking to assert his parental rights, the family law attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco can help.
We have extensive experience handling paternity actions in the family courts on Long Island and New York City. You can depend on us to help you protect your parental rights and always put your best interests first.
While unwed parents often agree on the father’s identity, paternity disputes are not unusual. If you do not address the issues of paternity right away, then your rights and/or obligations may be locked in without the benefit of a paternity test. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of pursuing or defending a paternity action. Contact our Garden City office today for a consultation.
The Benefits of Establishing Paternity
It is common for unmarried couples to have children, which raises questions about parental rights. Under New York law, if two individuals are married when a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the legal father. If they are not married, the father has no legal rights or responsibilities to the child until paternity is proven. Obviously, this creates special problems in the case of same-sex couples, which is a developing area of case law.
In short, establishing paternity becomes necessary when the biological identity of the father is in question. At the same time, establishing paternity can benefit the mother, the father, and the child. Doing so allows a mother to seek child support, helps a father obtain visitation rights or custody, and reassures the child that both parents want to be involved in their life.
How Do I Establish Paternity?
There are two ways to establish paternity in New York. One is through an “acknowledgment of paternity,” and the other is by filing a paternity action in family court.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
Unwed parents who agree about who the father is can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity” form, stating the man signing is the child’s legal father. Both parents must sign this form when the child is born or on another date. Two individuals who are not related to either parent must also witness the acknowledgment. Once an acknowledgment is signed and you begin acting as a father by providing support or otherwise conducting yourself as a father, you may very likely be prevented from challenging paternity in the future.
A paternity lawsuit may be necessary if the parents cannot agree on the father’s identity. The following parties can bring a paternity action in New York:
- The mother
- The presumptive father
- A government agency
- The child or their representative
The family court will order a DNA test on the mother, child, and alleged father. The results may establish a legal relationship between the father and child and determine his rights and responsibilities. Notably, establishing paternity does not guarantee your parental rights; it only allows you to pursue your rights in court. That makes it essential to have an experienced paternity attorney on your side.
How Our Firm Can Help With Your Case
At Aiello & DiFalco, we regularly handle paternity actions on behalf of mothers and fathers. We have a proven history of helping our clients achieve positive outcomes in and out of the courtroom.
If you are the child’s mother, you can depend on us to help you establish paternity to obtain child support from the father, and other benefits for the child, such as health insurance.
Our family law attorneys also assist fathers with asserting their parental rights. If you are not married to the child’s mother, we can help you pursue an action to obtain legal recognition as the child’s father. After the court recognizes your parental rights, you can seek visitation rights or custody, depending on the circumstances. But you will also have an obligation to support the child.
Although paternity actions can be emotionally challenging, we work to take the stress out of the process and find amicable solutions. Above all, we will work to protect your parental rights and help your child obtain the care and support they deserve.
Contact Our Experienced Long Island Paternity Attorneys
If you need assistance establishing paternity in Long Island or New York, trust Aiello & DiFalco to guide you through the process. We will leverage our skills and experience to find the best solution for you and your child. When you meet with us, we will listen to your concerns and help you make informed decisions about the way forward. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.