In New York, unmarried parents typically have the same rights and responsibilities as married parents. However, unmarried parents who decide to split up may face certain issues that married couples generally do not face, particularly with regards to paternity. Establishing paternity can be beneficial for mothers and fathers, as well as the child.

How can unmarried parents establish paternity?

In New York, establishing paternity can be challenging if there is uncertainty as to who the father is or a disagreement over paternity between the child’s parents.

  • If there is no doubt regarding who the child’s father is, the father can voluntarily sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
  • If paternity is disputed for any reason, parents can file a court petition so that the court can determine paternity.

When a court is petitioned to determine paternity, a judge will order all three parties (mother, alleged father, child) to submit to genetic or DNA testing. If the results show that the alleged father is the biological father of the child, the court will issue an order of filiation to officially acknowledge him as the father. An order of filiation will be required for either parent to seek a child support order.

Why should parents establish paternity?

Establishing paternity can be beneficial for everyone in the family. Children will benefit in that they will be able to get financial support from both parents in the form of insurance, child support, and various benefits, as well as emotional support and access to their family medical history.

By establishing paternity, both parents can share their parenting responsibilities and be made aware of the father’s medical history, while allowing the father to legally establish his parental rights and seek child custody.

If you are unsure about how to establish paternity, a family law attorney in your area can help you with every step of the process.