Paternity law is a tricky thing. It depends on where you’re coming from in regards to a paternity case. Are you being sued for child support? Are you trying to establish paternity for child visitation? Are you trying to prove paternity to prevent an adoption? Regardless of your reason, hiring a paternity lawyer is your best bet to ensuring you are well within your rights and the law. Here’s a few things to know about paternity cases:
If you’re married, paternity is assumed.
If you’re not married, that’s when the paternity issues begin to arise. In order to have any legal rights to your biological child, you must sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” for your child. The easiest way to have this done is if you are at the hospital at the time of your child’s birth. Then, you simply have to sign the paper and you have legal rights to your relationship with your child. You also have legal responsibilities, too. If you’re not at the hospital at the time of birth, you can go to court with the mother and admit paternity to have an “order of filiation” filed. If you’re not on good terms with the mother, you may want to have a paternity lawyer help you with an “order of filiation” so that you are legally defined as the father of a child. If the mother fights your claim, you may need to have a paternity test done.
If you’re not married, don’t have an “Acknowledgement of Paternity,” or an “order of filiation”…
Legally speaking, you have no rights to your child, regardless of whether the child is biologically yours or not. On the other hand, if you have none of the above, you also have no legal responsibilities or obligations to the child in question. This is where a lot of paternity lawyers come in handy. If you’re being sued for child support and you know the child is not yours, then you’ll want a paternity lawyer to help you submit your legal reason for not being obligated to support that child. If there’s a chance the child may not be yours, you’ll want a paternity test. If the mother of the child is certain the child is yours and you are trying to avoid paying child support, you may be court ordered to take a paternity test. In the event that this is the case, you’ll want your paternity lawyer to help you negotiate the appropriate amount of child support and child visitation, if desired.
If the mother of your child is married to someone else…
In the eyes of the law, the husband is the legal father of that child, even if you are biologically the father of that child. In this case, if you want rights to your child as the biological father, you may file a paternity petition. This situation is a complex case best left to a paternity lawyer, as the court is not obligated to recognize you as the father, even if the paternity results prove the child to be biologically yours.
Paternity attorneys can help you navigate the complex laws that govern unmarried fathers in Long Island. While the laws may seem outdated and strange, the current laws are what fathers must follow in order to have legal rights to their biological child. Once you establish paternity, your lawyer can help you set up visitation. If you are certain you are not the father and are fighting a paternity or child support case, a paternity lawyer will do everything they can to prevent you from being taken advantage of legally and financially.