Chappaqua: 914-238-1377
New York City: 646-247-6365

Chappaqua, NY Paternity Lawyers

westchester county paternity lawyer

Attorneys for Paternity and Family Law Related Matters in Westchester County

When a child is born to parents who are not married to each other, it is important for both the father and child to have paternity legally established. Legal paternity provides a number of rights and responsibilities for the father, as well as benefits for the child. At the law office of Grimes & Zimet, we are equipped to help both fathers and mothers with matters related to paternity and parentage regarding their child.

Protecting the Rights of Unwed Parents

According to New York law, when a child is born to a married woman, her husband is assumed to be the child’s legal father. For a child born to unmarried parents, however, no such presumptions are made. Instead, a man can only be recognized as the child’s legal father by either an acknowledgment of paternity or by a court-issued order of filiation. An acknowledgment of paternity represents the easiest method for establishing paternity, and must be voluntarily completed by both parents. Often available in the hospital immediately following the child’s birth, the acknowledgment generally avoids the need for court intervention.

Alternatively, an action for paternity can be brought in New York Family Court by the mother, the man who believes he is the father, the child’s guardian, or the Department of Social Services if the child receives assistance benefits. The court, at its discretion, may order genetic testing to determine the probability of paternity, and based on the results and other presented evidence, may issue an order of filiation, declaring the man to be the child’s legal father.

Complicated Paternity Case Representation

A paternity situation can become even more complex if the mother of the child is married, but her husband is not the biological father. By law, the husband is presumed to be the father until a court action determines otherwise, and the biological father would have no parental rights. At Grimes & Zimet, our attorneys are prepared to help you uncover the truth and to ensure your rights are fully protected. Whether you are being held legally responsible for a child that is not yours or would like to have your paternity formally recognized, we can help.

Rights and Responsibilities

Once the father-child relationship has been legally established, the father assumes some obligations but is granted rights as well. Under New York law, any parent, including fathers, may be required to provide financial child support until he or she reaches the age of 21. The father is also granted standing to file for child custody and to oppose long-distance relocations or adoption proceedings. The father’s name may be included on the child’s birth certificate and he can make his medical and health history information available to the child. The child also becomes eligible for inheritances and certain legacy benefits, including those available through Social Security and veterans’ programs.

If you have questions about navigating the Family Court processes of establishing or contesting paternity, contact the offices of Grimes & Zimet. We invite you to meet with one of our experienced family law attorneys for an introductory consultation where you can have your questions answered and your case reviewed. Call 914-238-1377 to schedule an appointment today.

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