When the mother of a baby born in New York is not married to the baby’s father, legal paternity must be established through documentation. There are two ways to do this: the father may sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity shortly after the baby’s birth, or an order of filiation may be filed in a New York family court.
When a petition is filed, the court typically holds a hearing in order to consider any evidence the parties want to bring forward and to establish paternity. At the hearing, the parties may represent themselves, or they may secure the help of an experienced Long Island paternity lawyer.
Typically, the hearing begins when the child’s mother and the respondent appear before a Support Magistrate. If the respondent admits he is the father of the child, the magistrate will typically enter an order of filiation, and the hearing is over. If the respondent denies that he is the child’s father, however, the magistrate may order blood or DNA tests to compare the child’s genetics to the father’s.
When the test results come back, the hearing resumes. Both parties may have a chance to testify and to present witnesses and other evidence in order to clarify who the child’s father is. The results of the blood or DNA tests will likely also be entered into evidence. If the magistrate finds there is sufficient evidence to support it, he or she will enter an order of filiation, establishing that the respondent is the legal father of the child. If not, the magistrate will likely dismiss the petition. If an order of filiation is entered, issues of child support may also be addressed at the hearing.