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Paternity establishment is the process by which we try to determine the legal father of a child born to two unmarried parents. In New York, when two unmarried parents sire a child, then it is assumed that such a child doesn’t have a legal father. In New York, Unmarried parents can be able to establish the paternity of a child in two ways;
Through the signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form; or Can petition the court to determine the paternity.

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While we don’t dispute that every born child has a biological father, but when his parents are unmarried, then in New York, that child is assumed not to have a legal father. And this simply means that the biological father has no responsibilities or any kind of rights towards his child. Due to this reason, for any father in New York who wants to have legal rights towards his child, he must first establish the paternity of the child.

Why establishing paternity is important?
By determining the paternity of the child, the unmarried parents will be ensuring that the child can also enjoy the same benefits and rights as any other child born to married parents.

The benefits that a child gets from paternity establishment
After the paternity has been established, the child will be entitled to both financial and emotional benefits such as;
– The child will be reassured that his parents acknowledged the paternity and that they do care for him or her.
– The child will have his father’s name now on his or her birth certificate.
– The child will be able to benefit from medical or life insurance from either parent, in case any of the parents have taken it.
– He will be able to access the information about the family’s medical history.
– He would now be able to get financial support from both parents, including things such as;
– Veteran benefits
– Social security
– Child support, and
– Inheritance rights

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The benefits that the mother will get from paternity establishment
The mother of the child will be entitled to a number of benefits such as;
– She will be entitled to share the parental responsibilities with the legal father.
– She will now have access to information about the child’s biological father medical history; and
– The child will now be covered by his father’s a medical insurance, if he has one.
– The benefits that the father will receive after paternity establishment
– The father of the child will also be entitled to a number of benefits from paternity establishment:
– There would be a legal framework of his parental rights;
– He would have his name on the child’s birth certificate;
– He would be able now to seek a court order for custody and visitation; and
– He would be entitled to the rights of being informed and also have a say in adoption proceedings.

What if there are reservations concerning the identity of the biological father?

In the case that there is some kind of reservations about the identity of the biological father, then both the parents should not sign the voluntary Acknowledge of the Paternity form. Rather, the parents can now petition the court to establish the paternity. From there, the court will direct that the child, the mother and the alleged father be subjected to genetic tests. After the tests are presented before the court, the court will now go ahead and determine if the alleged father is the real legal father of the child in question.

In the case that the tests show that the alleged father is the real biological father, the court will proceed to issue an order of filiation, stating that the alleged man is the biological father of the child. Once the order of filiation has been issued, either parent can proceed to seek an order for child support.

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