In New York, a parent may obtain full child custody and visitation rights even if the parents were never married. However, when it comes to a father’s rights they must either have been married to the child’s mother or signed an ‘Acknowledgment of Paternity’ before they are granted custody rights. Legal paternity must be established in the judicial system before the court will acknowledge the father’s rights.

In general, there are two ways a father may establish paternity.  The father may petition and obtain a court order in Family Court. After filing the petition the court will most likely request a paternity test to be done to determine whether the petitioning man is the biological father.  The second is by having both of the child’s parents agree and say that the father has paternity. The second way may also be accomplished by having the man’s name appear on the child’s birth certificate as the father.  However, it is important to note that a man may not put his name on the child’s birth certificate if the mother is married to another man. In New York, the husband of the mother is automatically presumed to be the child’s father.

Jayson Lutzky has been a practicing New York attorney for 30 years. He is experienced in getting the best results for his clients who are facing family law issues such as divorces, child custody, and child support issues. If you are facing a family law issue, then contact our law office or visit our website