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Establishing paternity in Manhattan falls under New York’s Family Court Act (FTA) 516-a. Establishing paternity means determining who is the biological father of a child. In Manhattan, a husband is presumed to be the father of a baby born during his marriage to the mother.
If the parents are not married, a biological father must sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” to assume all legal rights regarding child custody. The document is then sent to the county court. A judge enters an Order of Filiation. This court order formally recognizes the father’s legal rights regarding the child. Until that time the father does not have any legal rights to raise or make decisions about the child. Also, he is not obligated to pay child support for the child.

If a man does not sign the “Acknowledgement of Paternity,” a paternity petition is the only way to establish paternity. A paternity petition is filed in Manhattan family court. Once filed, a hearing is ordered to determine if a man is who the subject of the paternity petition is the biological father.

Certain Individuals Can File a Petition to Establish Paternity in Manhattan

The state only allows certain individuals to file a paternity suit in Manhattan. In addition to the mother, the alleged father can file a paternity petition along with:
• The child
• New York welfare agency
• Child’s guardian or next of kin
• Representative of a charitable society

DNA or Blood Testing May be Required to Prove Paternity in Manhattan

In the first hearing, the parties to the paternity petition appear before a Support Magistrate. Both sides present evidence to why the alleged father is the biological father. If the alleged father admits he is the father, the Support Magistrate will enter an order of filiation.
However, if the alleged father denies paternity, the Support Magistrate will order DNA or blood tests for both parties and the child. Another hearing is scheduled.
During the second hearing, the test results are revealed. The test results may show the alleged father is the child’s biological father. The results may show he is not the biological father. If the allege father is not the biological father, the case is dismissed.
However, if the alleged father does not admit to paternity, another hearing is scheduled. During this hearing, each party will present witnesses and the test results will be offered as evidence. At that time, a decision is made.

Once an order of filiation is made by the court, the alleged father becomes the biological father. It is then up to the custodial parent to seek child support. It is up to the biological father to seek physical and legal child custody.

Can a Man Rescind an “Acknowledgement of Paternity in Manhattan?
Yes. A husband or a man not married to the mother, but signed the acknowledgment can rescind paternity. They have 60 days to rescind paternity without proof. They can rescind acknowledgement of paternity after that, but will need a legal reason. These legal reasons include duress, mistake of fact and fraud. This means the mother or someone else lied to him or forced him to sign the acknowledgement even though he was not the child’s father.

Contact a Manhattan Attorney about Establishing Paternity

You are seeking to establish paternity. Maybe you are fighting paternity because you know the child is not yours. Maybe you the “child” at the heart of a paternity case. Whatever you reason, we are here to represent you in your paternity case. You have the right to know the truth. Let us help you with your paternity petition. Contact us.

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