Who’s the Daddy?
Unfortunately, human relationships are not always neat and simple. Nowhere is this more apparent than in a paternity suit. Sometimes a father is shirking his responsibility to support a child and other times the mother is denying the father’s biological parenthood. If the parties cannot resolve the issue on their own, a Family Court judge can order a paternity test to help resolve the issue of who is the baby’s father.
Not every paternity case needs to be contentious and end up in court. Experienced Long Island family law attorneys can help guide you through this emotional process.
The Legal Father
If a woman was married at the time of conception or birth of the child, her husband is considered the legal father irrespective of whether he is the biological father unless a court decides otherwise. If the parents are not married then the legal father is the man who signs an “Acknowledgement of Paternity ” declaring that he is the father of the child (this is usually done at the hospital).
If a man is not the legal father then he has no obligation to provide support for the child but he also is not entitled to custody or visitation rights. A man who believes he is the father of the child or a mother who thinks that he is, may file a paternity petition to the court seeking an “Order of Filiation” declaring him to be the legal father. Celebrities, like Justin Bieber, who is now the subject of a second paternity suit , are well aware of this procedure.
If a man denies that he is the child’s biological father, the court can order a blood or DNA test. The parties can testify and introduce or contest the DNA evidence. If, after hearing all the evidence, the court is convinced that the man is the father it will issue the Order of Filiation and conduct a hearing on the issue of child support. It should be noted, however, that not every man must undergo a paternity test just because someone claims he is the father. There must be some basis in fact to the paternity claim.
Lawyers with experience in family law
A paternity suit is not something that you should not handle without a lawyer. If you have a legal issue regarding the paternity of your child, whether you are the mother or the father, Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia has the family lawyers that can help you find out the truth. You can contact us online or call us to schedule a meeting.