If you are the parent of a child born out of wedlock, you have rights pertaining to child custody, visitation, and support. An experienced fathers rights lawyer can help see that your rights are honored. Sometimes, information comes to light that changes everything. A man may find a reason to believe that he is not actually the father. A mother may come to believe that the person she thought was the father is not actually the father.
At the law firm of The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our child custody attorneys understand paternity cases. With more than 20 years of combined experience, we have what it takes to achieve the goals of the people we represent, people just like you. You can be confident with us on your side. To learn more about our experience handling these situations and orders of filiation, schedule a consultation with an experienced Albany paternity disputes lawyer.
Establishing Paternity in Albany
For unwed couples, paternity must be established. This has benefits for the mother, the father, and the child. Generally speaking, the sooner you establish paternity, the better off the child will be. This is even true in cases where you feel that the father is unfit to be a parent.
Once the paternity is established, a mother can get child support by court order even when the father does not have legal custody of the child. Additionally, you can then sue to terminate the rights of the unfit parent which would free the child up for adoption. If you simply don’t tell the father or allow the child to be adopted without the father’s foreknowledge or consent, the father may petition the court to vacate the adoption later. By getting it out of the way early, you can move forward with a stepparent adoption. Ways of establishing paternity include:
Naming the father on the birth certificate; and
Having the father sign a paternity statement.
In some cases, the father will deny that the child is his. In this case, the court will order a paternity test in order to establish whether or not the child is biologically related to the father. If it comes back positive, he is the father. If not, then the mother should still make the effort to establish paternity.
Let’s say the father admits to paternity but later attempts to claim that the child does not belong to him. Even if he proves his case with a DNA test, the courts will likely consider the man the father of the child. The father would then have to find the biological father and hope that he wants custody of the child in order to void his parental obligation to the child.
This may even be true in cases where the mother misled the stepfather into believing that the child was his. Since the stepfather has an established rapport with the child, he may still be legally obligated to support them.
Rights of Unmarried Mothers
Raising a child is expensive. You have the right to seek child support from the child’s father. But first, paternity must be established. If the father is unwilling to acknowledge paternity, it may be established through a court-ordered DNA test.
Our dedicated paternity dispute attorney in Albany could help a mother take these necessary steps. We can also help you address requests for custody privileges from the father.
Rights of Unmarried Fathers
As the father of a child, you have the right to be a part of that child’s life. Prior to establishing child custody and visitation rights, you must be legally acknowledged as the father. Establishment of paternity can be done simply by acknowledging the fact on the proper documents or through a DNA test. Our lawyers in Albany could help you pursue custody and visitation once you establish paternity to your child. We can also help you respond to a request for child support.
Paternity and Third-Party Adoption in Albany
A birth father has the same rights as a birth mother. However, for practical reasons, birth fathers are not always notified when a mother marries a new spouse. In this case, the new spouse may petition the court for adoption rights which would, in other cases, terminate a biological father’s parental rights to have access to their children.
However, because the law requires that biological fathers be notified prior to an adoption, there is always a risk that the biological father can raise the issue of paternity even after the child has been adopted. In this case, the biological father can terminate an otherwise valid adoption.
Ideally, when a new spouse wishes to adopt the children of their partner from a previous marriage, they would have the biological father’s consent. In cases where there was no previous marriage, the paternity is unknown. A claimant can file a claim with the court that they are the biological father of the child and then sue for custody.
My Husband Is the Legal Parent of My Child
When a mother has a baby out of wedlock, the paternity of the baby is not assumed by the court. An ex-lover may raise the issue of paternity with the court even after the child has been adopted by a new spouse. In that case, the biological father may terminate an already established adoption but they must first establish paternity.
The court will make a judgment as to whether or not the adoption should be annulled based on the best interests of the children. In many cases, the court will rule that the father is out of luck if the reason why the father did not file a petition for paternity was his own fault or the father was in a position to know that the child might have been his but did nothing about it.
In this case, our lawyers in Albany can help you advocate for your position that your current spouse should remain the legal father of your child.
I Think I’m the Father of a Child Who Has Been Adopted
If you believe a former lover had your baby and allowed the child to be adopted by a stepparent without your notification or consent, you may have a case to have the adoption vacated.
First, you will need to establish your paternity. It may be difficult to prove that the adoption should be overturned, but it is not impossible. If the mother actively hid the pregnancy from you or otherwise prevented you from knowing about the child, you may have a right to access your children in which case the stepparent’s adoption would have to be terminated.
We know how to challenge paternity. These are complex cases that frequently involve DNA tests and more. You can be assured that we know which steps to take to set things straight. For a consultation about establishing fatherhood issues, call us today or contact our Albany paternity disputes lawyers online.