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Brooklyn Paternity Lawyers

Paternity matters are usually legally challenging cases. Are you looking down the barrel of a paternity case in New York? If you are, you need to have a foundational understanding of paternity law in the state. On top of that, your best protection in this type of case is the professional assistance of a well-informed, experienced New York paternity lawyer.

New York Paternity: Judicial Jurisdiction

In New York, the family court has judicial jurisdiction over paternity cases. The New York family court has the power to establish paternity. In addition, the family court has the authority to issue such other orders that are customarily associated with the establishment of paternity. Included in these are orders addressing such matters as child custody, parenting time or visitation and child support payments.

What Benefits Does a Father Get from Establishing Paternity?

Fathers receive several benefits from paternity establishment. Among these are:

  • His parenting rights are upheld;
  • His name can be listed as the father on his children’s birth certificates;
  • He has the right to petition for court-ordered custody and visitation of his children; and
  • He has the right to be informed and have his opinion heard in any adoption proceedings involving his children.

Paternity in Dispute

In the event that a dispute arises regarding paternity, an action can be filed in family court. A case can be filed by either the birth mother or any man who reasonably believes that he is the father of a child who is born out of wedlock. Depending on the details of the situation, the state of New York also has the authority to initiate a paternity action.

As soon as a paternity action is initiated, the court will order genetic testing. Whatever the DNA testing result is, it is considered a conclusive demonstration of whether or not a particular man is the father of a child born out of wedlock or not.

DNA/Genetic Testing to Prove or Disprove Paternity

Any genetic testing a man agrees to undergo for the purpose of verifying or disproving paternity of a child needs to measure up to established criteria. In New York Family Court, for the results to be deemed conclusive or be admissible as evidence in a paternity matter, the test must be legitimate. The usual, and more than reasonable, expectation is that the laboratory where you take the genetic test to be used as evidence in a paternity matter is a court-approved facility, or one that has the required accreditation from the state agencies appointed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Default Judgment in Paternity Case

Should a putative father fail to respond to a summons in a paternity case within the time frame established by law, the family court may enter what is known as a default judgment. A default judgment declares the putative father the legal father of the subject child. In the absence of some extraordinary circumstance, a default judgment cannot be easily set aside once it is entered as the final order of the court.

How Does an Unmarried Father Establish Paternity of their Child at the Time of Birth?

When his baby is born, if the father is not married to the child’s mother, he has the option of signing a form called an Acknowledgment of Paternity. Signing this form is totally voluntary. The form is available at hospitals, local district child support offices, and local birth registrars. If necessary, he can file a petition in family court to have the court determine paternity.

What if You Need to Have a Paternity Declaration Legally Invalidated or Rescinded

You have the right to have a paternity declaration rescinded if you need to. Your request to have this done needs to be filed within 60 days of signing the declaration. Under certain circumstances, the judge can rule to invalidate the declaration after more time than that has gone by. If you are able to present the irrefutable results of a DNA test to the court, for example, those results are evidence that will support ruling a paternity declaration invalid. Nevertheless, it is well worth noting that family court judges are legally required to put a combination of factors under consideration before entering a decision on any paternity matter. In making a decision of which to overturn – a paternity declaration that was signed by the presumed father in the presence of witnesses, or the reliable outcome of a DNA test – the courts will additionally uphold the circumstances to the “best interest of the child” litmus test. In addition, the possibility that there may be a deep connection between the child and their biological father is an important factor that judges are required to include in their ruling.

Get Yourself a New York City Paternity Lawyer

Work with a family attorney who is familiar with the paternity legislation in New York if you are seeking to start a paternity case. A mother who is preparing to file for child support should also look for an experienced NY paternity lawyer to get court-recognized paternity of the presumed father.

It would behoove any person facing the challenges of a paternity case to seek legal representation. A New York paternity lawyer will schedule a free consultation to discuss a case and a prospective client’s legal rights. Customarily, there is no fee for an initial consultation in a paternity case

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