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Fathers’ rights and the importance of acknowledgment of paternity

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2021 | Family Law

In Long Island and throughout New York, fathers’ rights are frequently understated in a child custody and visitation case. However, parents should be aware of what must be done if there is any disagreement over paternity. This can occur because the parents are not married at the time or there was infidelity and the identity of the biological father is uncertain. It is in these circumstances where a prospective father who wants to ensure he has all the rights he is entitled to under the law and a mother who wants to ensure the father pays support understand the value of the Acknowledgment of Paternity. It is wise to be protected with legal guidance if challenges arise.

Key facts about the Acknowledgment of Paternity

When a child is born and the mother is unmarried, there will not be a legal father. As such, the man who is alleged to be the biological father or claims to be the biological father will not have any legal rights. That means no chance at custody, no visitation and the mother cannot ask him for child support until he is proven to be the father. The mother and father can address this by signing form called the Acknowledgment of Paternity. This can be done at the hospital. It can also be done at the child support office or birth registrar in the area.

Once it is signed by both and a father is identified, he will have all the rights to the child that he would have if the couple was married. His name will be on the birth certificate. This form can only be filled out if the parents are not married. In situations where the mother was married at any juncture while she was carrying the child, this form cannot be used. It is voluntary meaning that the parents are choosing to sign it of their own volition. It does not need to be signed immediately to be valid.

Fathers’ rights start with having proof of paternity

There are many reasons why it is imperative to have a father on record. A child benefits from having a responsible father in his or her life; the mother can request child support; and the father can have visitation and even custody if the situation warrants it. The Acknowledgment of Paternity is one way to name a legal father and ensure fathers’ rights are considered. If there are disputes, there are others such as an Order of Filiation or a DNA test. These cases can be emotionally taxing and costly. Having advice is vital to try and achieve a positive result that benefits everyone, especially the child.