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Boyfriend’s Parental Rights Maintained

father's rights lawyerIn a case of first impression, Matter of A.S. v. B.H., a mother brought an application seeking to set aside an acknowledgment of paternity which had been signed by her boyfriend. The mother claimed after the acknowledgment of paternity was executed, she performed a home DNA test and found out the boyfriend was not the child’s biological father. The mother claimed the child, who was three years old, had special needs and was incapable of bonding with the father. She therefore claimed the father should have no parental rights with regard to the child.

Child’s Bonding with Father

Family Court Judge Michael Hanuszczak found the mother’s argument concerning the child’s bonding ability, “exaggerated and self serving.” He also found her assertions concerning the issue of bonding to be speculative. He went on in his decision to state “under [the mother’s] line of reasoning, a special needs child…would be denied a father if the mother did not lend her approval to the relationship.” He further stated “in cases involving the best interests of a child the court looks beyond any limitations of the child to determine whether a parental relationship exists.”

Family History

The mother and boyfriend had a relationship from time to time. The boyfriend had signed an acknowledgment of paternity when the child was born in December 2011. The mother was unsure of whether the boyfriend was actually the biological father of the child. There was testimony that showed the boyfriend was involved in the raising of the child during the period of time the parties lived together. The boyfriend and the child developed a relationship with each other until such time as the boyfriend’s relationship with the mother soured. She then cut off his relationship with the child.

The Judge’s Decision

Judge Hanuszczak in his decision, ruled it was not in the child’s best interest to vacate the acknowledgment of paternity. He also saw no reason to order the child, who had bonded with the boyfriend, not be allowed to have a relationship with the boyfriend because a situation had been created where it was in the child’s best interest to maintain that relationship. The boyfriend was the only father figure this child knew. The attorney for the boyfriend stated “my client was able to show that he was the sole father figure in this child’s life and to remove him would destroy the parent child relationship.”

Conclusion

This decision is a victory for father’s rights.parental rights advocate

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.