What Steps Do I Need To Take To Establish Paternity?

Out of court, you can simply sign the acknowledgment of paternity to establish paternity. While that is usually done at the birth of the child, it does not have to be. You can generally execute the acknowledgment of paternity at any point. If the child is born during a marriage, there is really nothing that you have to do, because the law already presumes you are the father of the child. Otherwise, a petition has to be filed in family courts to establish paternity rights.

Do I Have To Take A DNA Test?

If a father is not contesting the fact that he is the father, he can simply agree that he is the father. The parties really do not even have to go to court under those circumstances - it can just be known that you are the father of the child and therefore, if the parties separate, you will pay child support. If you do so, however, you may be found to have waived your right to ask for a DNA test in the future.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Filing For Paternity Actions?

There is no strict statute of limitations to file for paternity. There are legal doctrines that may prevent you from contesting paternity, such as the doctrine of equitable estoppel. If the child knows a certain person to be his or her father then, at some point, you are going to lose your legal right to file a paternity petition to contest paternity. Likewise, if you sign the acknowledgment of paternity, you only have 60 days to move to vacate that acknowledgement. If you do not do so within the 60 days - unless you have a specific defense to the contrary - you are stuck with that acknowledgment and stuck with paternity.

If I Legally Establish That A Man Is My Child's Father, Is He Responsible For Child Support?

In New York, the paternity petition also includes a request for child support. All within the same case, you would be establishing the father's paternity and then the court moves directly into the child support portion of the case. There is no separate petition that you have to file for that.

If Paternity Is Not Established, Is The Father Free And Clear Of Child And Other Supports?

There are some cases where support may be ordered, even when paternity has not been established. If you have a father who goes to family court and attempts to establish paternity rights or is sued for paternity rights and it turns out he is not the biological father of the child, but he is married to the mother, he may still have a legal obligation to continue to support the mother and child.

If It Is Legally Declared Who the Father of a Child Is, Will He Have to Pay for The Mother's Attorney Fees?

You can always apply for counsel fees to be reimbursed. The statute also authorizes you to sue the father for expenses related to the birth of the child. However, in terms of an award of counsel fees, that is something that you would have to file a motion on. It is usually governed by a disparity of income - it is not automatic.

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