HOW TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY
New York has two different methods to establish paternity:
The first is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If the parents agree to the identity of the father, they are able to sign this form designating the child's legal father. This can be done as soon as the child is born and must be signed by both parents along with two witnesses.
The second method of establishing paternity is one parent filing a petition for a hearing in family court. This will generally take place if one parent does not agree to sign the acknowledgement of paternity form. Once this petition is filed, the court will take a DNA test of the mother, child and alleged father to find whether the alleged father is indeed the biological father or not. If it is proven that he is the father, the judge will issue an 'Order of Filiation' declaring him to be the legal father.
BENEFITS OF ESTABLISHING PATERNITY
There are several benefits for all parties involved if paternity is established. For the child, he or she will have information on both parents as well as support from a mother and a father. This is important in cases of medical care, genetic matters and development in general. For the father, establishing paternity grants him rights to custody or visitation with legal status to the child. For the mother, she is able to share financial responsibilities for education and the needs of the child. She can also have a partner in raising the child.