How Is Paternity Established In New York?

In New York, paternity is established in a few different ways. If a child is born during a marriage or conceived during a marriage, New York State law has what is called a presumption of legitimacy, meaning the law presumes that the child is the child of both parties to the marriage. Another way is if the father signs an acknowledgment of paternity when the child is born. The third common way is for either party to file a paternity petition through the court.

Is Having the Father's Name on The Birth Certificate Enough to Establish Paternity?

The acknowledgment of paternity must be signed along with the birth certificate to acknowledge paternity. Hypothetically, if the biological father is not present, the mother can put down anyone's name as the father of the child on the birth certificate. That does not determine father of your child, however, because that also requires the execution of the acknowledgment of paternity.

Is The Biological Father The Only Person Who Can Be Legally Recognized As A Father?

There are actually several ways a non-biological father can be legally recognized as a father. One way is when a person, usually a significant-other of the mother, raises the child as his own. If the child grows up for several years knowing this person to be the father, then there is a legal doctrine called "equitable estoppel" that comes into play - which may require the law to recognize this person as the father. They may then even deny the actual biological father from even getting a DNA test to establish his paternity rights.

The other common way a non-biological father can be legally recognized as the child's father is through a stepparent adoption case. That is a case where the biological father's rights would either be legally surrendered or terminated by the court, based on a variety of grounds, the most common of which is abandonment.

Who Can Legally File For A Paternity Action?

The mother can always file a paternity suit, as can any person who is alleging to be the father, along with certain other entities, such as the Department of Social Services. Ironically, the statute does not specifically name a person who is alleging to not be the father.

For more information on Establishing Paternity In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 368-7580 today.