If you and your partner are not married at the time the child is born, there are two ways to establish paternity:
- Both parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, before a notary and witnesses, and after informed consent, or;
- Proceed to the Family Court and file a Petition for paternity/child support.
In the event that the parties proceed to the Family Court in order to establish paternity, a proper Petition needs to be filed and served. Once you get to Court, the Judge will Order the parties and the child to submit to a paternity test. Please be aware, that an exception to this are cases where both parties have held themselves out to be the parent of the child. In other words, you can not go into the Family Court and challenge the paternity of a seven year old child who you have held out to be your child, and calls you “Daddy”. This concept is called “Equitable Estopple”, and should be a warning to all who are caring for a child under the assumption that they are the parent. People in that position need to challenge the issue of paternity immediately, or they can be estopped under New York State Law from making such a demand.
Remember, a child becomes an adult in the State of New York when they turn 21years old. That is a long time to support a child who may or may not be your biological child.
Assuming that the non married couple has an infant child, and they can not agree on the issue of custody, that is where the Court will order a paternity test. It is now done at a local lab by simply swabbing the inside of the mouth of the alleged parents and the subject child. In the event that you are the parent, the test results will show overwhelmingly that you are the parent. If the test shows a 99% probability, the statistical probability that you are the parent is generally one in a billion.
Once the test results are returned and it is established who the parents are, the second step is to set up child support, or challenge the test results using experts in the field. This challenge is both expensive, due to the experts, and rarely results in overturning the test.
Important Things to Remember When Filling Out the Acknowledgement of Paternity Form
- Only unmarried parents are eligible to fill out the form.
- The form will name “a person as the father of the child and gives him the right to custody of the child, the right to visitation with the child, and the responsibility of paying child support.”
- The form is voluntary which means “both parents sign the form of their own free will.”
- When signing the form, it important that both parents don’t “have any doubts about who the biological father is or other concerns.”
Ready to establish paternity?
If you live in Nassau County, New York and are ready to establish paternity or have questions regarding the process, the family law attorneys at The Law Offices of David L. Martin, Esq., P.C. are available to speak with you.
The process of establishing child paternity/support in the Nassau County Family Court can be difficult to do on your own.
Child support/custody matters can sometimes get messy depending on the circumstances which is why it would be in your best interest to retain one of the best family law attorneys in Nassau County, New York to assist with your case so that your rights as a parent are protected.
The Law Offices of David L. Martin, Esq., P.C. is located at:
1415 Kellum Place, Suite 205
Garden City, NY 11430