Saratoga Springs Paternity Lawyer
In New York, when a married couple has a baby, they are automatically deemed that child’s legal parents. Both of their names will appear on the birth certificate and they will each have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. If they are not married, establishing paternity may be more complicated, but might be possible with a dedicated family attorney.
There are significant benefits to the father, mother, and child of identifying the child’s father as the legal parent as soon after birth as possible. If you need to establish the paternity of your child, and you were not married to the other parent at the time of delivery, there are additional steps you must take. A Saratoga Springs paternity lawyer could explain the process and work to ensure the legal father’s identification.
Establishing Paternity in New York
Paternity may be determined in three ways:
- If a married couple has a child, the husband is presumed to be the legal father. If the husband disputes paternity, he must prove that he is not the father.
- If the parents are not married, the man who identifies as the father may sign an acknowledgment of paternity.
- Family Court may establish paternity at the request of any party eligible to file a paternity action. If the parents disagree that the man is the father, the court may order a DNA test. Once the court is convinced of paternity, an ‘order of filiation’ may be issued confirming the child’s legal father.
A local attorney experienced in paternity matters could identify the most appropriate method of determining paternity based on the facts of the case.
Initiating a Paternity Case
A party may file a paternity action for no fee in New York Family Court in the county where either that party or the alleged father resides. Any of the following parties may file to establish paternity:
- The child’s mother
- A man who believes he is the child’s father
- The child
- The child’s guardian
- The Department of Social Services if the mother is receiving public assistance
Once the case has been filed, a summons and a copy of the petition will be delivered to the alleged father, advising him when and where to come to court. Each party has a right to an attorney at any paternity proceeding.
The Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity is essential because, without it, a child will not have the same rights as a child with two legal parents. Confirming the identity of the child’s legal father also has significant benefits for the parents.
Benefits to Father
Once paternity is confirmed, the legal father has a right to custody or visitation with the child, and a right to participate in any adoption proceeding. The child’s birth certificate will name him as the father.
Benefits to Mother
The mother may share parental responsibilities and receive financial support from the father. She might also receive compensation from the father for her reasonable pregnancy expenses. (New York Family Court Act §514)
Benefits to Child
There are both emotional and financial benefits to the child from a paternity establishment, including the following:
- Assurance that the parents cared enough to confirm paternity
- Information about the father’s medical history
- Medical or life insurance from either parent
- Economic support from both parents, including social security, child support, and inheritance
Given the significant benefits to all parties involved, the counsel of a nearby lawyer experienced in paternity matters may be invaluable.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Paternity Attorney
The law surrounding the establishment of paternity can be complicated. Given the many ways that a man can legally be named as the father of a child, it is essential to have skilled legal counsel. The determination of paternity may affect the father, the mother, and the child for the rest of their lives.
Just as it is vital to establish a biological father’s identity, it is equally essential to rule out a man who has wrongfully been named the child’s father. If you are a party seeking to establish paternity, or you are an alleged father facing a DNA test, a Saratoga Springs paternity lawyer could help. Place a call now to discuss your potential options.