When a married couple has a child, the legal assumption is that the husband is the father of the child. When a child is conceived outside of a marriage, the paternity of the child is un-assumed. If a couple with a child wishes to establish paternity, they can file an Acknowledgement of Paternity. In New York, the state provides couples with the documentation needed to do this in the hospital or at any time after the birth of the child.
The form will need to be filled out and signed in front of a notary before being filed. However, submitting this form waives a couples’ rights to a DNA test in the future should any doubt of paternity arise. If a couple is serious about establishing paternity for their child, it should seek the help of an experienced New York City Paternity Lawyer. When paternity is established before a marriage, it can determine child custody rights in the future.
How do Couples Establish Paternity?
Couples already married do not need to file an Acknowledgment of Paternity. The child is automatically assumed to be of the married couple, and the father will automatically have rights in the event of a divorce. However, if a couple conceived the child before a marriage, or the mother has a child from another partner, paternity may need to be established.
If the mother was previously married when a child was conceived, it will be assumed that the ex-husband is the father. But if the mother was not married when that child was conceived, who will be considered the father? The answer is not strictly black and white. The state of New York doesn’t necessarily consider the biology of the father.
If the child is from a previous relationship the mother had, but the new husband has a significant bond with the child, the new husband may be considered the father by the state. While a DNA test can tell the court who is biologically the father, there are more factors that go into deciding who has “parentage” than just biology. As you can see, it is important to establish paternity for a child in cases like this, both for the child’s sake and your own.
Unfortunately, there are many cases where a father signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity, only to find out in the future he is not the father. In this situation, the father may want to have the document vacated. He will need to contact a family law attorney to present his case to a judge and stop the Acknowledgement of Paternity.
Why Establish Paternity in New York City?
An Acknowledgement of Paternity establishes many factors other than who the father of the child is. It can affect social security and other benefits, inheritance, child support, child custody, and more. It also establishes a clear medical history within the family’s lineage. When spouses get divorced, fathers have what is called “father’s rights,” but these rights are null and void if paternity is not established. Therefore, to determine custody, support, and visitation rights, a paternity ruling is absolutely necessary. A competent NYC paternity attorney can assist couples in finding and establishing paternity for their children.
If you are considering filing an Acknowledgement of Paternity, or you need to have the file vacated, contact the law office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. today. Her practice has been exclusively for family and matrimonial law for more than two decades. With over 30 years of experience in New York City, she is committed to the well-being of her clients and has been recognized by Avvo as a top contributor and attorney with superb ratings. She is also an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.
To discuss your needs, please contact us online or call us at (212) 349-1600 to schedule an in office or telephone consultation.