Rights of Unmarried Fathers in Otsego County, New York
Unmarried fathers should know that they have rights as parents and that there are a number of ways in which they can become the legal fathers of their children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Children’s Bureau makes clear that the U.S. Supreme Court has “affirmed the constitutional protection of such a father’s parental rights when he has established a substantial relationship with his child.” In addition, the Court has ruled that “the existence of a biological link between a child and an unmarried father gives the father the opportunity to establish a substantial relationship,” which typically is defined as all of the rights and responsibilities associated with raising a child.
How can an unmarried father establish paternity in Otsego County? Traditionally, New York State has two ways that an unmarried father can establish paternity:
- Parents agree to paternity and sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity, which can be done at the time of the child’s birth or afterward; or
- Father can petition the court to establish paternity, which may include a DNA test.
Fathers’ Rights in Otsego County Child Custody Cases
One of the primary reasons that unmarried fathers seek to establish paternity is because of a custody or visitation case. At the same time, even married fathers who are established as a legal parent of the child have concerns about court biases in awarding custody and visitation. At New York law underscores, “anyone who has an important role in a child’s life may ask the court for custody,” and fathers should know that they have just as much of a right to play a role in their child’s life as the mother.
In making decisions about child custody, courts seek to determine what is in the best interest of the child. In so doing, the court looks at many different factors about the specific family situation. Fathers should know that the court wants to maintain the parent-child relationship for both the mother and father, and often sees the maintenance of these relationships as being in the child’s best interest.
Contact a Fathers’ Rights Lawyer in Otsego County
If you are a father and need assistance establishing paternity or handling a child custody case, an experienced Otsego County fathers’ rights attorney can help. Contact The Colwell Law Group, LLC for more information.