Child custody pertains to where a child will live and how they are raised by one or both parents. Child support is the weekly, b-weekly or monthly payment one parent send to the other to support their child. Typically, before either issue can be settled, paternity must be established. In Brooklyn, paternity law is outlined in New York FCT 515.-a.
Establishing Paternity in Brooklyn
New York automatically assumes the man married to mother at the time a baby is born is the father. This may not be the case. An unwed mother may tell a father he is the biological father, but he is not. The state allows an individual to establish paternity in one of two ways. The father can sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the time of the baby’s birth. The other option is to file a petition to establish paternity. The petition may lead to an Order of Filiation by the court. This is after the alleged father was proven to be the biological father.
The petition can be filed by the:
• Baby’s mother
• Alleged father
• Child’s guardian, individual in a parental role or next of kin
• Representative of a philanthropic society or charitable organization
• Representative of a public welfare agency
The Paternity Petition is to Start the Hearing Process in Brooklyn
In Brooklyn, a paternity petition filed with the court starts the fact-finding process. A hearing is scheduled. In the hearing, evidence is heard from each side regarding the child true paternity. Before or after the initial hearing, the baby and father will undergo DNA or blood testing. If the man admits to fathering the child, the DNA testing may not be necessary.
However, the DNA or blood test results are read at the hearing. Paternity will be determined at that time. If the man is determined not to be the father, he will not be responsible for child support. If he is determined to be the child’s father, paternity is established.
Acknowledgement of Paternity May be Rescinded in Brooklyn
In Brooklyn, a man has the right to vacate or rescind acknowledgement of paternity. It must be done within 60 days of signing the document. In addition, a man can challenge the acknowledgement of paternity after that 60-day period. However, they must have a valid, legal reason as proof they are not the father such as:
• Mistake of fact: The alleged father mistakenly assumed he fathered the child
• Duress: The alleged father was pressured into signing the acknowledgement of paternity
• Fraud: The alleged father signed the acknowledgement because he was told by the mother that he was the father. Later, the mother admitted she purposely lied.
Child Custody and Child Support in Brooklyn
After paternity is established, the father can seek child custody rights. Child custody is separated into two areas: legal and physical child custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing. Physical child custody is the right to have the child live with the parent.
A parent may choose to seek sole or joint legal and physical child custody. Sole legal custody means only one parent has the right to make important decisions about the child. Joint legal custody gives both parents the legal right to make decisions. Sole physical custody allows the child to live with one parent. Joint physical custody allows the child to live with both parents according to a schedule.
Child support is also determined. Whether child support is awarded typically depends on the physical custody arrangements.
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