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How to Establish Paternity in New York


When a child is born outside of a marriage, even if the biological paternity is 100% certain, they are still said to have no legal father. For this reason, the biological parents may wish to also establish legal paternity, regardless of their decision to marry or not. Establishing paternity is extremely important to every party involved, as there are numerous rights that all three parties will most likely wish to have at a later date, particularly for the child.

Benefits of Establishing Legal Paternity

For the Child
When you establish legal paternity and declare the child’s biological father their legal father, then the child receives numerous benefits. For example, many employer-offered health insurance plans require that a father establish legal paternity to be able to cover a child as part of their plan. Medical insurance is crucial, particularly in the early years of a child’s life when they need things like immunizations and frequent check-ups. Legal paternity can also qualify a child to receive things such as social security benefits, inheritance rights, veteran’s benefits, and more. Plus they will always have the comfort of knowing both parents cared enough to be involved in their life from the very start.

For the Mother
For mothers, establishing legal paternity can help them protect and maintain several important rights. For starters, this allows them to share parental responsibilities, and ensure that the father will always be connected to their child. In the event of a divorce or separation, they may be able to pursue the biological father for child support payments. In addition, this can also help secure the financial future of the family.

For the Father
Fathers most often wish to stay involved in their child’s life; by establishing paternity, they can protect their parenting rights and ensure they receive things like visitation or the ability to make decisions on behalf of their child. If the mother marries someone else, having legal paternity can then protect a father’s rights to having a say in adoption proceedings and ensure they can remain involved in their child’s life no matter what the other parent is doing.

How to Establish Paternity

There are two ways in which paternity can be established: voluntarily or by court order. If there is absolutely no doubt about the identity of the biological father of a child, then both parents can voluntarily agree to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, which is usually located at a hospital or at a birth registrar.

If there is any doubt at all about the child’s true paternity, parents should not sign an acknowledgement form and instead petition the court to establish paternity. This is usually done through a biological paternity test. So long as the results leave little doubt about the alleged father’s biological status, the court will create an order which names him the legal father.

If you need assistance with the paternity establishment process, you should discuss your rights with a skilled Dutchess County family lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, our team works hard to help you seek the best possible conclusion to your case. Our experience and knowledge can help us provide you with high-quality legal counsel that will help you navigate the complexities of a family law issue with confidence. Our dedication to efficiency and cost-effective strategies have built us a reputation for exceptional client service. Let us show you the difference our firm can make with your issue.

For a free initial consultation appointment, call the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC today at 842.605.4330.