In New York, when an unmarried mother gives birth, the child’s father is not legally considered his or her father without an establishment of paternity. For those who wish to seek child support, establishing paternity is needed. There are a couple of ways in which this can be accomplished.
After a child is born, both parents may sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (AOP). This will give fathers legal rights to their children. This will also allow the mother to seek a support order. There are some problems that may prevent a father or mother from being able or willing to sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgement form, however. An individual who might question whether or not signing this form is in his or her best interests may want to seek legal guidance before taking further action.
If an AOP is not signed, it is possible to establish paternity through genetic testing. In many cases, this requires a court order. If, after testing, parentage is positively determined, it will be possible for mothers to then pursue a child support order.
There are, understandably, a lot of concerns surrounding the establishment of parentage of children born out of wedlock. If financial support is wanted in these cases, though, doing so is necessary and something that may not be avoidable. Regardless of whether or not an AOP is signed, a family law attorney can assist mothers and fathers in New York with the process of establishing paternity. Further help in seeking or contesting a child support order can also be provided.
Source: childsupport.ny.gov, “Paternity Acknowledgment FAQ”, Accessed on July 24, 2015