Fathers' Rights & Paternity Actions

While shared custody has been a common outcome for many separating parents, the myth persists that mothers should remain the sole custodial parent and fathers will have to make do with visiting their children on weekends and holidays. However, the law recognizes the importance of Dad being fully integrated into children's lives, and I am here to secure and protect your father's rights.

As a father, you have just as much right to your children as the mother. If your former spouse arbitrarily cancels agreed-upon visitation rights; accuses you falsely of child abuse, neglect or domestic violence; attempts to alienate your children from you; or moves away without notifying your or without consent (against your agreement), then you have a good case for seeking full custody of your children. I can help you combat these hurtful tactics to ensure your rights and secure the well-being of your children.

What Is A Paternity Action?

A paternity action is a legal proceeding to establish if a man is the biological father of a child. An action for paternity can be brought by the child's mother, a man who believes that he may be the father, the child, the child's guardian, or the Department of Social Services if the mother is on public assistance.

Why Should I File A Paternity Action?

The establishment of paternity gives the father the rights of visitation and to seek legal custody of the child. The father can then object to the mother relocating outside of New York with the child and to any adoption of the child.

Furthermore, once paternity is established, a child then has a legal right to:

  • Child support from the father
  • A share in the inheritance, assuming the father dies without a will
  • Health benefits when the father has a policy that provides them
  • Social Security benefits if the father becomes disabled or dies
  • A share in any wrongful death action
  • Obtain visitation and join in the father's custodial rights

Establishing Paternity In New York

There are three primary situations in which New York law recognizes paternity:

  1. The father signs an acknowledgment of paternity. The proper form must be signed and notarized. This form is provided to unmarried women at the time they give birth.
  2. A family court determines a paternity action is necessary. The judge will issue an order of filiation once it is established or the father agrees to same. An order of filiation means that the man is the legal father of the child. If the alleged father does not consent, the judge will order DNA testing be done. If the results show that there is at least a 95 percent probability that the man is the father of the child, the judge will more than likely issue an order of filiation.
  3. A child is born to married parents. If a child is born during the marriage of a man and women, the legal presumption is that the husband is the father — even if he is not in reality. The burden is on the husband to prove that he is not the father.

The Law Is On Your Side, And So Am I

Being a father isn't just a legal relationship. As an experienced family law attorney, my goal is to help fathers who truly wish to start or maintain meaningful relationships with their kids. Contact my office in Staten Island to discuss your situation and options. Call 718-720-1000 for a free consultation.