Last Updated on
Paternity cases represent legally challenging matters. If you face a paternity case in New York City, you need to have an essential understanding of paternity law in the Empire State. In addition, you best protect your legal rights in this type of case with the professional assistance of a skilled, experienced New York City paternity lawyer.
Judicial Jurisdiction a New York Paternity Case
In the state of New York, the family court has jurisdiction over paternity cases. The family court has the power to establish paternity. In addition, the family court has the power to issue such other orders that are naturally associated with the establishment of paternity. These include orders addressing matters like child support, child custody, and parenting time or visitation.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
New York law includes a provision that permits a putative father the ability to acknowledge paternity. The term putative father refers to a man who is thought to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, but who has not been legally identified as the father.
The acknowledgment can be prepared and submitted to the registrar in the state of New York where the birth certificate previously was filed. Provided there is no objection to the acknowledgment of paternity, no further legal action is required.
There can be an objection to the acknowledgment of paternity. First, another man who believes he is the father of a child born out of wedlock can take legal action to object to the acknowledgment of paternity. Second, the birth mother of the child can also object to an acknowledgment if she believes that someone else is the father of the child born out of wedlock.
Sixty days must lapse from the filing of the acknowledgment of paternity and the commencement of legal action challenging it. The specific grounds set forth in New York law upon which an objection to a paternity acknowledgment can be lodged are an allegation of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
What Are Some Benefits the Fathers Get Out of Paternity Establishment?
The father receives a number of benefits that he may be looking for from paternity establishment. These benefits include:
- Legal validation of his parenting rights;
- Having his name placed as the father on his child’s birth certificate;
- The right to seek court ordered custody and visitation of his child; and
- The right to be informed and have his voice heard in adoption proceedings.
What Options Do Unmarried Fathers Have to Establish Paternity?
There are two avenues an unmarried father can take to establishing paternity in the state of New York:
- He can sign a form called an Acknowledgment of Paternity. This must be signed voluntarily and in the presence of witnesses or a notary. You can obtain this form from a hospital, local district child support offices, and local birth registrars, and
- He can file a petition in family court to have the court rule on his paternity.
If there is a dispute regarding paternity, a paternity action can be filed in family court. The case can be filed by either the birth mother or a man who reasonably believes that he is the father of a child born out of wedlock. Depending on the circumstances, the state of New York can also initiate a paternity action.
Once a paternity action is initiated, the court will order DNA testing. The DNA testing results conclusively demonstrate whether or not a particular man is the father of a child born out of wedlock.
Genetic Testing to Prove or Disprove Paternity
The genetic testing a man agrees to undergo for the purpose of proving or disproving paternity of a child has to measure up to established criteria. For the results to be deemed conclusive or be admissible as evidence in a paternity case in Yonkers family court, the DNA test must be legitimate. It might be possible to access DNA testing from a mobile unit on a street corner. Such a provider could presumably give you rapid results for no more than a few hundred dollars, but a Yonkers Family Court judge would be reticent about recognizing a paternity test done in a recreational vehicle. The customary, and more than reasonable, expectation is that the laboratory where you do the genetic test to be used as evidence in a paternity matter is a court-approved laboratory, or one that has the necessary accreditation from the state agencies appointed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Hire a family attorney who is familiar with the paternity legislation in Yonkers if you are seeking to start a paternity case. Any mother looking for child support should also look for an experienced NY paternity lawyer to secure court-recognized child paternity of the presumed father.
Default Judgment in a Paternity Case
If a putative father does not respond to a summons in a paternity case within the time frame established by law, the family court can enter what is called a default judgment. A default judgment will declare the putative father the legal father of the subject child. Barring some extraordinary circumstance, a default judgment cannot readily be set aside once it becomes the final order of the court.
Paternity and Child Support
If you are a father presently facing a divorce or separation agreement in Yonkers, New York, it is strongly recommended that you retain the services of a skilled Paternity lawyer to protect your rights as a father. If a default judgement of paternity is entered in your case, then child support is a matter that is likely to arise.
In general, child support is calculated on the basis of a formula in the family code, but specific child support amounts can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A “combined parental income” sum is figured out by first subtracting social security and taxes. Here are the basic child support percentages. You should be aware that these may vary depending upon your particular situation and the unique needs of the child or children:
- For one child – 17% of combined parental income sum
- For two children – 25% of combined parental income sum
- For three children – 29% of combined parental income sum
- For four children – 31% of combined parental income sum
- For five children or more – 35% of combined parental income sum
Retain a New York City Paternity Lawyer
A person facing the challenges of a paternity case is wise to seek legal representation. A New York City paternity lawyer will schedule an initial consultation to discuss a case and a prospective client’s legal rights. There is no fee typically charged for an initial consultation in a paternity case.