Are you a mother seeking financial support for your child from his or her biological father? Are you a father who wants to gain parental rights to a child, and share in your child's upbringing? Paternity plays a key role in child support and custody cases.
Paternity is primarily established in one of two ways:
- Both parties can agree on the identity of the child's father. As long as both the mother and father agree, and are willing to sign a "Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity" form, paternity will be legally established.
- Either parent can request a paternity hearing in family court. Genetic testing will be ordered for the mother, the child and the alleged father to establish paternity. As long as the tests indicate conclusively that the person tested is in fact, the biological father, the court will issue an order declaring paternity. It is at this point the father's name can be legally added to the child's birth certificate.
Once paternity has been established, the acknowledged father will be legally responsible for providing financial support for his child. Fathers are usually then required to pay child support, based upon how custody and visitation are determined in the case. A presumed father is one who was married to the child's mother at the time of conception or birth. In cases where a man marries a woman after the child's birth, and his name is put on the child's birth certificate or he agrees to provide financial support for the child, he becomes the presumed father.
An alleged father, even if he and the child's mother are not married, can also be required to pay child support. A stepfather is not financially responsible for his wife's child unless he officially adopts the child. It is important to note that while establishing paternity is often employed for the sole purpose of obtaining child support, as soon as a man is determined to be a child's biological father, he will have the legal right to seek custody and visitation and participate fully in the upbringing of the child.
Let Us Represent You
If you have questions about paternity and child support, we recommend you speak with a Brooklyn divorce attorney at Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C. Our firm is focused on providing quality legal representation to individuals seeking to resolve any number of divorce-related issues. We have a comprehensive understanding of divorce and family law. We have the experience and skills necessary to help you pursue a positive resolution to any parental rights issue. Our founders have both received AV Preeminent® Ratings from Martindale-Hubbell®. We are extremely proud of the recognition our firm has received in being mentioned in the New York Law Journal and Forbes magazine's "Women Leaders in Law" sections.