What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity in New York?
Establishing paternity, or fatherhood, refers to the process of determining the legal father of a child. When a child is born to unwed parents, the child has no “legal” father. This means that even if a mother knows who the birth father is, if a couple is not married, he has no legal rights or responsibilities to the child. Establishment of legal paternity affords certain benefits to both the father and the child. It can also be helpful to the mother in terms of co-parenting as well as child support.
New York Paternity Laws
In the state of New York, parents who are not married can establish paternity by taking one of the following actions:
- Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form
- Petitioning a court to determine paternity
The VAP is a legal document that is available from hospitals, child support offices, and local birth registrars. Both parents must sign the VAP for it to be legally binding.
If there is any doubt as to paternity, a judge will order the mother, child, and supposed father to submit to genetic testing. This can include DNA tests, which involve a small sample of bodily fluid or tissue from the alleged father and comparing it with a sample from the child. Considered to be the most accurate method of confirming a father’s identity, DNA testing proves that a man is likely to be the father with approximately 99.9 percent accuracy, or that he is not the father with 100 percent accuracy.
Advantages of Establishing Paternity for the Child
Every child has the right to know the identities of his or her father and mother. This is important for many reasons, such as growing up with the support and guidance of two parents. However, it can also benefit the child in practical and financial ways, including the following:
- Medical and/or life insurance
- Father’s name on the birth certificate
- Family’s medical history (genetic or hereditary diseases)
- Social Security benefits
- Veteran’s benefits
- Child support payments
Advantages of Establishing Paternity for the Parents
When a mother gives birth to a child, and the alleged father denies paternity, this can be devastating to the woman. Raising a child alone can be emotionally and financially draining. In other cases, a father may want to be a part of the child’s life, while the mother does not want him to be involved. In either of these situations, seeking to establish paternity in the eyes of the law is not only in the best interests of the child, but it can also help the parents. Below are a few of the benefits for the mother and father:
- Sharing parental responsibilities and care for the child
- Maternal and paternal medical histories
- Rights to seek custody and visitation
- Rights to refuse adoption proceedings
- Mother’s and father’s names on the birth certificate
Contact a New York City Family Law Attorney
A man can claim he is the father of a child, but it is imperative to legally confirm parentage for various reasons. Being recognized legally can grant a father and his child certain rights and benefits. At Goldberg Sager & Associates, we know how important it is to have a relationship with your child. Our dedicated Brooklyn, NY paternity lawyers will guide you through the legal process of establishing paternity. We have more than 50 years of combined experience in successfully resolving family law cases. Call our office today at 718-514-9516 to schedule a consultation.