When there are issues related to child support in New York, the basics can be at the forefront of the disagreement. One problem that frequently arises is that the alleged father does not know or will not agree that he is the biological father of the child. This is where the Acknowledgment of Paternity is important.
When paternity is known, the man is the legal father of the child. With that, he will have rights to custody, visitation and will be responsible for child support. A mother who is married will automatically have the husband viewed as the legal father. A woman who is not married at the time of birth will need to take steps to name a legal father. Even if a man admits and acknowledges paternity, there will be no rights for him unless he signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity form or the court signs an Order of Filiation.
Both mother and father must sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity. This is a form that will generally be filled out at the hospital at the time of the child's birth. It can also be acquired at the office of child support or the birth registrar. A person will be named as the child's legal father and he will be responsible for all the necessities linked to that. This alternative is only for those who are not married. If the mother was married when pregnant, there cannot be an Acknowledgment of Paternity form used. This is a voluntary procedure.
Since raising a child can be so difficult without knowing, legally, who the father is, the Acknowledgment of Paternity is vital. It can also be essential when there are delinquent payments and a failure to pay child support. A child support dispute can arise for many reasons and the absence of a legally known father is one. Having assistance from an attorney who is knowledgeable about all these issues is key and the first step that should be taken by both parents.
Source: nycourts.gov, "Acknowledgment of Paternity," accessed on June 20, 2017