New York Paternity Statute of Limitations

In New York, the statute of limitation to establish a paternity proceeding under the Family Court Act Article 5 is during the pregnancy of the mother, after the child is born, or a proceeding can commence anytime before the child turns twenty-one years of age. It is always recommended that you contact a legal professional with experience in Family Law to discuss and familiarize yourself with paternity law in New York State.

When an unmarried alleged biological father for whatever reason is unavailable to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form earlier in a child’s life. It is important for this alleged father to know the statute of limitations in the event the alleged father wants to be recognized as the legal father in New York State in the future. Being the legal father affords him the opportunity to have his name on the birth certificate, certain decision-making rights on the child’s behalf, and parenting time.

Does every state have the same paternity statute of limitations as NYS?

No. Each state differs in its statutes for paternity establishment. For example, in New Jersey, you will have up to five years after the age of 18 or 23 years of age to establish the paternity of a child. In Texas, there is no statute of limitations for a lawsuit to establish paternity. These are a couple of examples of how some states differ in their application of paternity statutes.

How does Family Court establish the paternity of a child?

After the alleged father or mother files, a paternity petition with Family Court and all parties see the judge. The judge will order a paternity test to be performed to prove the biological relationship between the alleged biological father and the child. Please note, the alleged biological father and mother do not have to go to court to establish the paternity of the child. If both parties agree, they can perform a legal paternity test prior to going before a judge.

If you reside in New York City learn more about the paternity testing process here.