Troy Paternity Lawyer
When deciding on custody-related issues and in all other contexts, New York family courts operate under the assumption that children should maintain relationships with both its mother and father. In practice, identifying a child’s biological father is not always a simple or straightforward process, and there can sometimes be significant opposition to informal declarations of parentage from the father himself or from various other parties.
In situations like this, assistance from a Troy paternity lawyer could be vital to protecting your rights and preserving your and your child’s future prospects. Whether you are trying to prove someone else is your child’s father or demonstrate your own paternity, support from a seasoned family attorney could dramatically boost your odds of achieving a favorable resolution in your unique situation.
Rights and Responsibilities of Biological Fathers
Regardless of whether a child’s parents are in a cohabitating relationship together or not, both mother and father share an equal responsibility in New York to provide financial support to their child. This lasts from the moment they are born to the moment they are no longer dependent on either parent. Accordingly, one of the most significant effects that establishing paternity can have is by formally solidifying a father’s obligation to pay child support to the child’s mother.
However, proving paternity can also be important in numerous other ways, from allowing a father to petition for custody or visitation rights with their child to simply ensuring a child has important information about their family medical history, entitlement to certain government benefits and inheritances, and more. A Troy paternity attorney could discuss what effects establishing paternity could have in a particular situation during a private consultation.
How to Establish Paternity in Troy
Whenever a woman in an opposite-sex marriage gives birth to a child in New York, her husband will automatically be named the child’s biological father unless one or both parents formally files in court to name someone else as the biological father. If an unmarried woman gives birth, she and the child’s biological father can jointly establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity either immediately after their child is born or at any point before the child turns 21.
In situations where a child’s parentage is unclear or where there is some dispute as to who a child’s biological father is, the child’s mother and father both have an equal right to file a paternity petition with a Family Court. Notably, while both parties to a paternity petition in Troy have the right to retain their own lawyer to represent them, the party who did not file the petition—known as the “respondent”—has the right to be assigned free legal counsel if they cannot afford private representation.
In response to such a petition, the court will generally order DNA testing and, if that test indicates that the tested individual is the child’s biological father, issue an Order of Filiation that formally establishes paternity. However, if the child’s mother was married to another person and/or another person was named as the child’s father when they were born, a legal rule known as “equitable estoppel” comes into play. This gives the court authority to decline to order DNA testing if it concludes that preserving the child’s current parental relationship would serve their best interests more than identifying their real father would.
Contact a Troy Paternity Attorney Today
If a man and woman both agree that they are a child’s biological parents, establishing paternity over that child is generally a simple matter. In more complicated situations, having help from seasoned legal counsel can be vital to both resolving the central issue as amicably as possible and preserving your own rights along the way.
A Troy paternity lawyer could explain your options and help decide on the next steps over the course of a confidential meeting. Call today to schedule yours.