If you and your child’s father are not married but want to establish paternity, this can be done in one of two ways. These include:
- Both you and your child’s father must sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
- The court signs an Order of Filiation after a paternity case.
To help you understand each of these options, we have taken the time to explain them in depth down below using information taken directly from the New York State Unified Court System website.
Establishing Who a Child’s Father is When His or Her Parents are not Married at the Time of Their Birth
When the mother of a child “is not married when [the] child is born, the child has no legal father and the biological father has no rights or responsibilities to the child.” It is important to establish paternity, especially if you and your child’s father are no longer together because a child’s legal father has rights including:
- The right to custody of the child.
- The right to visitation with the child.
- The right to provide support for the child.
Regardless of whether you and your child’s father are together or not, you may be wanting to establish paternity so that your child’s biological father is (1) listed on the child’s birth certificate and (2) so that child custody and child support issues can be addressed. Now, as we mentioned, there are two ways to establish paternity. The first involves you and your child’s father signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Although this form is generally filled out at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth, it is “also available at your local child support office and local birth registrar.”
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 custodyof 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.”
[Source: New York State Unified Court System].
The next way paternity can be established when a mother is not married to her child’s father is to initiate a paternity case in Family Court so that an Order of Filiation can be issued. When an unmarried mother and father choose not to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form but either party wants to establish paternity, then an Order of Filiation must be issued. An Order of Filiation “is a court order that names a man as the father of a child.” An Order of Filiation does the following:
- It “gives the father the right tocustody of the child, the right to visitation with the child, and the responsibility of paying child support.”
- It can “also be used to change the child’s last name and get a new birth certificate.”
An Order of Filiation “can be done “on consent” which means “that both the mother and the father agree that the father really is the child’s biological father and neither of the parents are asking for a DNA test to prove it.” The New York State Unified Court System website says that it is extremely difficult to change an Order of Filiation done on consent so “it’s important that there are no doubts or questions about who the child’s biological father is.” After the court signs an Order of Filiation, a child support case is initiated automatically.
Ready to establish paternity?
If you live in Nassau County, NY 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. While the process of establishing paternity typically isn’t a difficult one, it can be if you intend on initiating a child custody/support case after doing so. Therefore, if you are a mother who is looking to establish paternity so that you can collect child support or a father who is wanting to gain custody rights, our Nassau County, NY family law firm is here to provide you with the help that you need.
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, NY 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