Are you an unmarried father in New York? If so, establishing a legal relationship with your child is crucial to safeguarding parental rights. Filing an Acknowledgment of Paternity form is the first step toward protecting your rights to child custody and visitation. Understanding the process of filing the form, its benefits, and its obligations is vital to starting your journey into fatherhood on the right foot.
At the Mandel Law Firm, we have vast experience in family law and are committed to client satisfaction. We understand that dealing with paternity issues can be challenging, and we can make the process go more smoothly. Let our NYC paternity attorneys guide you through filing an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, explain how it shapes your parental rights and responsibilities, and ensure your rights are protected. Keep reading to learn more about who needs to file an Acknowledgment of Paternity and how a lawyer could help.
What Is an Acknowledgment of Paternity?
An Acknowledgment of Paternity is a legal document that establishes a man as the legal father of a child when he is not married to the child’s mother. The child’s mother and father must sign the document voluntarily, which signifies that they agree on the biological father’s identity.
In New York, unmarried couples typically sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form in the hospital shortly after the child’s birth, but it can be signed later. A signed Acknowledgment of Paternity form gives the father certain legal rights and responsibilities, including the right to custody, the right to visitation with the child, and the responsibility of paying child support. The form also allows the child’s father to be named on the birth certificate. If parents decide to sign this document after leaving the hospital, they can submit it to the New York State Department of Health’s Vital Records division.
Where Do Couples File an Acknowledgment of Paternity?
Unmarried couples in New York typically sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital when the child is born. According to New York State Child Support Services, unmarried couples who do not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital can submit it to their local birth registrar. However, couples must have two witnesses present if they sign the form after leaving the hospital, and those witnesses cannot be related to either parent. The completed form should be sent or brought in person to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for children born in New York City.
Do Married Couples Need an Acknowledgment of Paternity?
In New York, married couples do not generally need an Acknowledgment of Paternity. When a child is born to a married woman, the law automatically assumes her husband is the child’s biological father. This principle, sometimes called the “marital presumption of paternity,” establishes the husband’s legal rights and responsibilities as a father without requiring additional documentation. This is true even if the mother’s husband is not the child’s biological father. According to the New York State Unified Court System, a biological father or a mother married during pregnancy but not to the child’s biological father may file a paternity case in family court to establish paternity.
Our NYC Paternity Attorneys Are Ready to Help
At the Mandel Law Firm, we are deeply familiar with family law in New York and have the resources to provide the legal guidance you need. For over 40 years, founder Steven J. Mandel has advocated for the rights of New York families, and he can do the same for you. Call us at (646) 770-3868 or complete our contact form for a consultation.