In New York, children who are born to a married woman and man are automatically assumed to be the biological children of both married partners. When the child’s mother is not married, however, no assumptions are made about the identity of the father – and in some cases, determining who the child’s father is may be difficult without a paternity test.
Establishing or acknowledging paternity can be a tough topic to bring up and a hard one to face. However, it is important to establish paternity when possible. An experienced Long Island paternity rights lawyer can help.
Paternity testing protects the rights and needs of the child in many ways, including:
- Helping the child understand his or her identity. It’s natural for any child to want to know where they came from and who their parents are. Children who have this information can develop a more integrated identity, allowing them to focus their energies on growing and learning.
- Access to medical information. The medical history of both parents can be indispensable if the child faces an unusual or unexpected medical condition. When paternity is established, the child is more likely to have access to this often life-saving information.
- Establishing child support. Children have the right to be supported by both parents, and the purpose of child support is to make sure the child’s basic needs are met. Establishing paternity helps the child have the best possible support from both parents.
- Access to benefits and inheritances. Children who can establish a link with their fathers may have access to other benefits through their fathers, including Social Security benefits, medical insurance, and certain veteran’s benefits. They also have the right to inherit from both parents, rather than only one.
If a parent refuses to acknowledge paternity, or if there is a question whether that party is actually the child’s parent, a proceeding for an order of filiation can be brought by either party. The court will order a genetic blood marker test of the child and the father, and the results will be reported to the court. The test comes back with a percentage likelihood of parentage. No matter what the results of the test are, the parties can still have a hearing on the issue.
The more common approach, however, is that when the test comes back with a strong percentage indication of the man being the father, the parties will consent to the order of filiation without a formal hearing.
There is a child support proceeding that is automatically started with any proceeding for an order of filiation. If an order of filiation is entered, the proceeding will automatically convert to a proceeding for child support, temporary support will likely be ordered, and the child support obligation will be retroactive to the date of filing for the order of filiation. If no order of filiation is entered, the child support issue will be dismissed.
Contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC for insight and guidance regarding paternity. Our legal team has extensive experience handling this often sensitive issue with the compassion and understanding you need.