If you are a father of a child in Schenectady and you want to ensure that you have full parental rights over that child, including the right to make decisions about the child’s life or/and petition the court for custody in the event of a separation or divorce, you must establish paternity. Establishing paternity is the process of establishing legal parentage, and can be done in one of three ways in New York–

Establishing Paternity in Schenectady County

There are three ways that paternity is established in Schenectady County, New York. These are:

  1. At the time of the child’s birth if the mother and father are married (paternity is automatically established);
  2. By signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form (typically signed at the time of the child’s birth in the hospital; must be signed by both the father and the child’s mother); or
  3. Order of filtration – an order of filtration is a court order by which the court declares a father to be the legal parent of a child.

Clearly, the first two situations – automatically establishing paternity at the time of the child’s birth through marriage, or signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity if parents are unmarried – are the easiest ways to establish paternity. If you are a father of a child who has not yet established paternity, however, our Schenectady County paternity lawyers can assist you in navigating the family law system.

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The Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is important for all parties involved. By establishing paternity, the child has the same rights and opportunities as do children with married parents in the eyes of the law, which means that both parents are responsible for the child’s care and financial well-being. For mothers, this may mean that child support can be sought; for fathers, this means that legal or/and physical custody may be sought. For the child, knowing who their father is and where they come from can be an important factor for the child emotionally, as well as medically, as they grow and mature. The child will also be eligible for things such as Social Security from the father’s record, veterans’ benefits, and inheritance.

How Our Attorneys Can Help

While establishing paternity is an important process, it is not always an easy one. If the child’s mother denies that you are the father and will not sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form as such, you will need to file a paternity petition with the court. You will likely need to undergo DNA testing to establish that you are the child’s biological father. If you are the child’s father, then an order of filtration is entered into by the court. From there, a support hearing will likely be held.

Our attorneys represent you throughout the entire process, helping you to file the appropriate documents, communicate with the child’s mother, and prepare for going to court. We also help you to understand your rights and options regarding issues like custody and child support once paternity has been established.

At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we are here for you. Contact our Schenectady County paternity lawyers today for your initial consultation.

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