If you try to disavow paternity in family courts, you are best advised to have an excellent attorney, who is well-versed in this area of law. You have to convince the court to accept your petition, even at the outset, because the statute technically does not allow a person who is looking to disavow paternity to file a paternity petition in family court. If the father is married, the contest is best done through the Supreme Court and in a divorce proceeding. If the father is not married, the only way he would be established, from a legal perspective, as the child’s father is either he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the doctrine of equitable estoppel applies. If he signed the acknowledgement of paternity, then he has to file a specific petition to vacate that acknowledgment of paternity.
If The Father Wins The Paternity Case, Would The Mother Have To Pay The Attorney’s Fees?
If the father prevails, merely because he is the prevailing party does not necessarily mean he is entitled to counsel fees. The court would also consider, as a much stronger factor, the disparity of income between the parties.
Are All Family Law Attorneys Qualified Or Experienced In Handling Paternity Cases?
Not all family law attorneys are experienced in handling paternity cases. You would definitely want to ask an attorney – if you have a paternity issue – how many specific paternity cases s/he has handled. The attorney should be able to tell you how many – if s/he hasn’t handled too many, strongly consider same in whether to hire the attorney or not.
Additional Information on Paternity Cases In New York
One issue that is important for people to know about is the issue of entitlement to a paternity trial. You are entitled to a trial on a variety of issues within a paternity case. For instance, if there is a contest around equitable estoppel or the presumption of legitimacy and the other side is trying to invoke those legal doctrines, you are entitled to a fact trial on those issues. This would involve the calling of witnesses, the parties’ own testimonies, and presentation of documentary evidence.
The other way a paternity trial can be conducted is – even after DNA test results come in – you could still dispute those DNA tests. You could challenge the methodology or the results of the DNA tests, you could call your own DNA expert or lab expert, who may probe how they conducted the test. Of course, you really have to go over the cost-benefit analysis of spending possibly thousands of dollars doing a paternity trial where it may be extremely unlikely to result in a win for you. You want to carefully review – with your attorney – what facts you have and what ability to prove those facts at a trial.
For more information on Establishing Paternity for A Non-Biological Child, an initial consultation is your next step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080 today.