Family and Marriage Law Lerner Law Syracuse, New York
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What Is It?

Paternity - that is, determining who is the father of the child, can be an issue for the mother, the putative father, or the child. Paternity comes with both rights and responsibilities. Paternity is not strictly a scientific or genetic issue, although genetic testing is routinely used to determine questions of paternity in Court. Paternity can be established by an Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by the mother and the putative father. Paternity can be established in Court by DNA testing or, through course of conduct over a period of time. The cost of a paternity determination may be shared by the parties or is paid by the party seeking to establish paternity. In a marriage the husband is presumed to be the father of all children born during the marriage unless he objects at the time.

Who Is It For?

Establishing paternity is a prerequisite to a mother receiving a Court Order for paternal child support
Establishing paternity is a prerequisite to Court Ordered visitation or custody for a father
Paternity may be an issue with respect to rights of inheritance, health, and other contract and legal rights

NOTE: In a July 6, 2006 Court of Appeals decision, In the Matter of Shondel J. V. Mark D., New York's highest court held that a man could be prevented from denying paternity, even when DNA testing confirmed that he was not the father, "If he had for an extended period held himself out to be the father of the child."
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