When an unmarried woman gives birth to a baby, the father is often in their lives. The parents may have a working agreement on how they share time with the child. Not all circumstances are as amicable. Sometimes, one parent tries to deny the other parent from having a relationship with their offspring.
Unmarried fathers in New York can petition the court for custody or visitation. The chances of success improve when dads are supported by the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC.
Establishing Paternity in New York
A married couple who have a child are the assumed parents of the child. There are no tests or declarations required. No such assumption exists when a baby is born to unmarried parents.
The unmarried birth mother is automatically given sole custody of the baby. Only after the father establishes paternity will he have any legal rights related to their child.
An unmarried father has two options for establishing paternity:
- Acknowledgment of Paternity: Agreeable parents typically use an Acknowledgment of Paternity to officially name the child’s father. The mother and father voluntarily sign the form at the hospital shortly after the birth. If they do not, they also can complete the form through the local child support office or birth registrar. Only unmarried parents can use this form. The form cannot be used if the mother was married at any point during the pregnancy.
- Order of Filiation: When the acknowledgment form is completed, a paternity case can be opened. If paternity is proven, the court officially names the father through an Order of Filiation. If the two parties agree on paternity, the order can occur “on consent.” When needed, the court can compel a DNA test on the mother, the child, and the alleged father.
The father is not the only person who can open a paternity case. The child’s mother or guardian can also bring the case to court. If the child receives public assistance, the Department of Social Services has the right to file a paternity petition.
Gaining Custody and Visitation Rights
The court evaluates the following factors when deciding custody:
- Strengths and weaknesses of each parent
- Both parents’ physical and mental health
- The availability of each parent to care for the child
- The incomes and resources of both parents
- Any history of domestic violence
The judge can award joint or sole custody physical and legal custody. If sole physical custody is granted to one parent, visitation is typically granted to the other parent.
Opening a Child Support Case
Once paternity is established through a court case, a child support case is automatically started. New York law requires both parents to financially support their children until they turn 21 years old. Child support is not only monetary. Health insurance coverage is also required.
Child support is calculated according to the number of children involved, the parents’ incomes, and the needs of the child.
Representing Father’s Rights to Custody & Visitation
Children benefit from a healthy relationship with both parents. This philosophy is enshrined in New York law. When the father is not married to the mother, they have no automatic right to see the child or make any decisions on behalf of the child.
Fight for your rights as a father with our help. Our attorneys have experience in guiding fathers through the paternity process and petitioning the court for their full legal rights.
Learn more in a confidential. Contact us online or call (845) 605-4330 to schedule.