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When a couple is married and has a child together, there is typically no question regarding who the father of that child is. And as such, paternity is automatically acknowledged. However, when a couple is not married, or when a single mother has a child, the state does not automatically acknowledge paternity, and parents must seek to establish it as such.

Establishing paternity is an important part of protecting the rights of every party involved – father, mother, and child. At the office of The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our Herkimer County paternity lawyers can help you establish paternity for your child, and understand the benefits of doing so.

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How Is Paternity Established in New York?

The state of New York recognizes three different ways that paternity is established.

  1. The child’s parents are married at the time of birth;
  2. The child’s parents are unmarried, but both the mother and the father sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form (at the time of the child’s birth or at a later date); or
  3. An Order of Filiation has been made, which is a court order that declares a man to be the legal father of a child.

Opening a Paternity Case

If parents are in agreement about who the father of the child is, signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form should not be an issue. If parentage is disputed, either party can open a paternity case by filing a paternity petition. A paternity petition is a legal document that seeks an order of filiation, and will result in a hearing with both the alleged father and the mother before the court. If whether or not the man is the biological father is a question, the court may order DNA testing. If DNA testing confirms that the man is indeed the father, the court will most likely declare the man to be the child’s legal father. Following this, a number of other legal processes related to parentage may unfold, including the father seeking custody or visitation with the child, and the mother seeking child support.

Working with an Attorney to Establish Paternity in Herkimer County

When paternity is established, all parties involved benefit. Not only does a father have the right to seek custody and visitation with his child, as well as the right to have legal decision-making power in regards to the child, but the doors are opened for mother and child to receive numerous benefits as well. In addition to child support payments, a mother may benefit from more support. Further, a child will be able to claim certain state and federal benefits on their father’s record, benefit from inheritance rights, and benefit from the emotional boon that comes with knowing who one’s father is.

At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we know that while paternity cases are very important, pursuing one on your own–as well as the issues that often follow–is not always easy. For legal counsel from an experienced Herkimer County paternity lawyer, call, text, or email our law firm today and schedule a consultation.

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