How to Establish Paternity in New York

Establishing paternity refers to the legal identification of the father of a child born to unmarried parents. To establish paternity, you must go through a voluntary process and sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity or through a judicial process in court.


The state of New York has two different methods to legally establish paternity:


  1. The first is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form. If the parents agree on paternity and 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.

  2. 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.


Paternity is established as soon as the baby is born or can be established any time after the baby leaves the hospital, until the child turns 21 years old.


People who should establish paternity are unmarried biological parents, parents who get married after their child is born, teen parents and parents who are immigrants.



Benefits of Establishing Paternity


There are a wide range of benefits from establishing legal paternity. These benefits affect the father, the mother and the child.


Benefits for the child include:

  • A legal record of the identity of their father

  • Important in cases of medical history or care, genetic matters and development in general

  • Rights of inheritance if they lose their father

  • Support from both their parents

  • Father’s name on birth certificate

  • Entitlement to medical insurance and social security


Benefits for the father include:

  • Name appears on the child’s birth certificate

  • Right to seek court-ordered child custody or visitation rights

  • Legal establishment of parental rights

  • Right to be consulted in adoption or other legal proceedings on the child


Benefits for the mother include:

  • Financial security for the family

  • Share parental responsibilities


Father playing with his child

How Much Does it Cost to Establish Paternity?


When going to family court for a paternity case, there is no filing fee. If you are a man who believes he is the father, you can use the free and easy do-it-yourself form program to ask the family court to name the child's legal father.


How Long Does it Take to Establish Paternity?


Establishing paternity is usually a relatively quick and simple process. If the court is not involved, you can establish paternity yourself when signing the AOP.


Depending on if the court orders DNA tests to be completed by either party, it can take only a few days all the way up to 4 to 6 weeks to get laboratory results back.


If you need help in your paternity case, contact the Law Offices of Karl Brodzansky. With over 30 years of experience specializing in divorce, family law and trusts & estates you relax knowing you’re working with reputable lawyers who are prepared to handle any situation


You can call today for a free consultation on our website or through a phone call at 516-248-2727.