Accomplished New York Family Attorney Assists with Paternity Issues
Respected Syracuse family law firm helps clients establish legal fatherhood
Paternity is often a thorny issue in child support and custody disputes involving parents who were not married when the child was born. At Bombardo Law Office, P.C. in Syracuse, I utilize more than 27 years of experience in New York family law to help parents during paternity cases. I will personally guide you through the steps appropriate for your situation, whether you need to establish or challenge paternity in relation to a child support dispute, child custody case or another relevant matter.
Seasoned adviser outlines methods for establishing paternity in New York
When a child is born to a married man and woman, the man automatically becomes the child’s legal father. A child born to unmarried parents in New York has no legal father until paternity is established.
To establish paternity voluntarily, both parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity and submit it to the family court. Alternatively, the unmarried father may voluntarily claim paternity by doing one of the following:
- Signing a form, drafted by an attorney, that acknowledges his status as the child's father
- Taking the child in as his own, and holding out to other people that he is the father of the child
- Developing a close, parent-child relationship with the child, which may include petitioning a court to grant him custody rights
- Attempting to marry the mother of the child
Determining legal fatherhood can be difficult if the purported father does not want to claim paternity, or if more than one man has a chance of being the child’s biological father. In these cases, it often becomes necessary to prove paternity through scientific testing. A child, the child’s mother or a potential father can file a paternity petition to determine legal fatherhood. The potential father(s) named in the filing must appear in court, and may need to submit to DNA testing.
Given the awesome responsibilities involved with raising a child, it is important for both mothers and fathers to have certainty on the issue of paternity. It is also important for the healthy development of children that they know who both parents are. The only way to establish paternity with certainty is through DNA testing. I help my clients request the authorization needed to prove or disprove paternity by scientific means.
Skilled lawyer aids with disputed paternity in child support and custody cases
When paternity is disputed, a father may be prevented from exercising his rights or a child may be denied the support to which he or she is entitled. Establishing paternity is crucial for matters of:
- Child custody or visitation — The legal father of a child can request sole or joint child custody or visitation rights. If the father’s paternity is not formally acknowledged, the child’s other parent can deny the father’s right to see or interact with the child.
- Child support — Children in New York have a right to have their basic needs provided for by both parents. If a child’s mother is the custodial parent, the child’s legal father may be ordered to pay child support. These payments help to cover the costs of raising the child. In most cases, fatherhood means taking on a duty of support until the child is at least 21 years old.
If you are a mother seeking to establish paternity of your child, it is crucial to prepare carefully before petitioning the court. I can advise you on the type of evidence that may be used to establish credibility, as well as questions to consider before moving forward with the petition.
As an experienced family law attorney who has handled all sorts of custody cases, I also help fathers understand the obligations they take on once paternity is made clear. If you have doubts about your relationship to a child of whom you are said to be the father, I can assist you in disputing paternity. In such cases, it is critical to complete a DNA test as soon as possible. You will always be allowed to challenge paternity when you first become aware of the child you allegedly fathered; it is rare that you will be allowed to challenge paternity years down the road.
Contact a committed Syracuse paternity establishment and disputes attorney today
At Bombardo Law Office, P.C. in Syracuse, I help my clients to establish paternity, challenge legal paternity and handle custody and visitation matters. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 315-800-4002 or contact me online.