Paternity

Paternity

A legal declaration of paternity is necessary, under New York law for someone to be considered the father of the child. Many parental rights and obligations flow from a finding of paternity. Besides inheritance rights, child support, custody and visitation cases require that someone is legally the father before a court can determine any rights. What sounds like it should be a simple issue, whether or not someone is the father, is not always as easy in the law as it sounds. For example, now that New York has approved same sex marriage, there are many new issues regarding paternity that arise as a result of the new law. Advocacy from an experienced matrimonial and family law attorney can be crucial when dealing with this emerging area of law as is the case with many paternity issues. As a veteran of many trials, Darren has applied these skills to many cases and he can help make the best use of his experience in your case. Our office cares deeply about paternity rights and parental rights of its clients. We work diligently to protect your rights and we are always willing to negotiate terms that are reasonable and favorable for our clients.

The presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married couple represents one of the complex areas of paternity. What this means is that the husband of a married woman that gives birth is presumed to be the father of that child. There can be a legal determination, however, that he is not the father or somebody else is the father. If another person files a paternity case, the husband needs to receive notice for the case to move forward. Darren will work hard to properly represent you to sort out your rights in a paternity case no matter which side of the issues you may find yourself.

Unmarried parents can both execute a document called an Acknowledgement of Paternity, and have it filed along with the child’s birth certificate to have someone legally declared the father of the child. Family Court petitions are allowed to be filed by either the purported father or mother for sixty days after signing the document to try to vacate the Acknowledgment. After that time period, a petition can still be filed but fraud or mistake or duress needs to be shown to be able to vacate the acknowledgement. Different time period rules apply to people under eighteen years old who want to vacate an Acknowledgment of Paternity.

A family court petition to establish paternity can be filed to have the court establish paternity. Often times everyone involved with the case might be willing to acknowledge paternity in court. If the court believes the requirements are met, the court can accept the acknowledgment and issue an order of filiation declaring the father of the child. DNA testing can be requested in a paternity case. Before ordering a DNA test, thought, a court will need to determine if a legal principle called equitable estoppel should be applied. As with most family law issues, the test on whether to apply equitable estoppel requires that it be in the best interests of the child to do so. What equitable estoppel essentially means is that someone might be declared to be the father, regardless of biology, because of exercising parenting time, providing support or otherwise holding himself out as the father. If estoppel applies, then DNA testing would not be allowed. Any party to the case can raise the estoppel issue. A finding of estoppel will trump actual biology. Equitable estoppel is probably the most contested issue in paternity cases. As with most areas in family law, our office has successfully represented clients and argued cases on both sides of this issue.

If the Father of a child is established in a Family Court Paternity case, next the court will inquire whether or not child support is requested. If there is a request for child support, then the case will become a child support matter. The same rules that apply to a child support matter in which the father was already determined before the case was filed will apply to a paternity case. Custody and parenting time or visitation cases also require a legal declaration of paternity. These petitions often follow or accompany a paternity filing. Our office has a lot of experience in handling paternity, custody and child support cases.

After paternity is found, if parenting time, custody or child support needs to be determined, Darren M. Shapiro can explain and advocate for your rights. He will explain the different types of custody and parenting time arrangements that are possible for your situation. Darren has successfully settled and litigated numerous custody, child support and parenting time cases in the Supreme and Family Courts in Nassau and Suffolk County, Queens County, New York City and the surrounding areas. Mr. Shapiro has many years of courtroom experience and he will make sure you are heard. Darren M. Shapiro knows that it is important that his clients know what options exist in order to determine the best choice for you and your family. Call for your free initial thirty minute consultation. It would be a pleasure to speak with you.

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