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Paternity Attorney in New York City

There’s nothing more important in a parent’s life than ensuring their children get the care and support they need. This is a big job under any circumstances, but when there are disputes or concerns about paternity, you may encounter issues with child custody, visitation, or obtaining child support. If you have questions about establishing paternity or your paternal rights, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney to learn more about your options. Reach out to me today at the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C. My offices are in New York City, NY, and I assist clients throughout the city, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.  

Why Paternity Is Important  

There are many reasons why someone would want to establish paternity, and all of them are valid and important. First and foremost, a child has a right to know who their biological parents are. A child who grows up knowing who their mother and father are — regardless of what their relationship to them is — will likely be more sure of themselves and able to establish ties to both sides of their family. Additionally, it’s important that children know the medical history of their entire family so they can know if they’re predisposed to certain health conditions or genetic diseases and address them before they become a problem. Being legally connected to both parents also ensures rights to inheritance, insurance coverage, and Social Security benefits. 

It’s also important to the mother and father to establish paternity. In some cases, a mother may need financial assistance in the form of child support, but this won‘t be possible unless their child’s father is legally determined. The mother can legally request certain medical information about the father or gain access to health insurance benefits for the child. It can also be equally as important for the presumed father to establish paternity. If a mother is intentionally excluding the father from their child's life, establishing paternity can allow the father to request custody and visitation rights and pursue a court-ordered parenting plan. 

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Establishing Paternity in New York 

There are two basic ways to establish paternity in New York: voluntarily and involuntarily. The easiest way to do this is voluntarily, and this is most often done at the hospital after a child is born. If the parents are married, it’s automatically assumed that the husband is the father of the child. However, if the parents are unwed, they’ll be offered the opportunity to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, which can be signed in the hospital or soon after the child’s birth in their county courthouse. This acknowledgement can be signed by both parents anytime before the child’s 21st birthday, but it is typically best to do this as soon as possible to avoid disputes. 

If the paternity your child is disputed by yourself or your child’s other parent, you will have to pursue an involuntary establishment by filing a paternity petition. This basically entails requesting a court order for a paternity test, or a judge may ask the father to sign an acknowledgement of paternity. Regardless of whether you were the one who filed or received the petition, you should hire a competent attorney to represent your interests in court and ensure your voice is being heard. This is especially true if you feel the other party is lying about paternity of the child, is trying to manipulate you into providing financial support for a child that’s not yours, or if the mother was legally married to another man when the child was born and is now trying to establish you as the father. 

When Paternity Disputes Occur  

In New York, a paternity petition can be filed by the mother, the father (or the man who either thinks they are the father or is trying to disprove they’re the father), the child, or the legal guardian of the child. In some cases, it can also be filed by a social worker who’s assigned to a child receiving public assistance. The courts will first attempt to establish paternity by getting the concerned parties to agree, but if this cannot be done, then they will order DNA testing. This is always the most definitive way to figure out who the father is, and if the test is negative (meaning the child and the presumed father do not share DNA), the case will be immediately dismissed. If the DNA test does link the father to the child, the court can then issue an Order of Filiation, legally establishing the father. 

Paternity Attorney in
New York City, New York  

If you’re located in New York City and are looking to speak to a skilled attorney about a paternity dispute you’re involved in, reach out to me at the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C. I represent clients throughout the city in a wide range of paternity cases. Contact me today when you need legal counsel in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx.