Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity

Q: What does paternity mean?

A: The simple definition of paternity is “fatherhood”. The paternity process involves establishing who is the father of the child. It is obvious who the mother of the child is because she gives birth to the child. Paternity questions can arise if the mother had more than one sexual partner. If the mother and father are married, there is a presumption her husband is the father of the child. If the mother is not married, at the time of the birth of the child, the issue of paternity has to be established. It can be established by the father signing an acknowledgment to paternity. If the father doesn’t do this, the mother can bring a paternity proceeding in the Family Court and ask that DNA testing be undertaken to establish who the father is.

Q: Why are blood tests utilized to determine paternity?

A: The purpose of taking blood to establish paternity deals with the issue of the DNA of the child. DNA paternity testing is considered to be 99.99% accurate. The genetic material of each individual is unique. Each child receives 50% of his or her DNA from the biological father and the other 50% from the biological mother. By taking blood samples of each parent, the court can determine with an extremely accurate degree of certainty whether the man, who is tested, is the biological father of the child.

Q: What rights do fathers have concerning issues of paternity?

A: If the father feels he is the biological parent of a child, he can bring a proceeding in the Family Court to establish paternity. Mothers also have an option to bring paternity proceedings in the Family Court if they seek to prove a certain man is the father of their child. Mothers usually take this action as a prerequisite to bringing a proceeding for child support for the child.

When a father brings a paternity proceeding and it proves he is the biological parent of the child, he can ask that his name appear on the child’s birth certificate. He can also ask for custody and/or visitation with regard to the child. Feel free to call our office with regard to more substantial information concerning biological father’s rights to have custody, or visitation (parenting time) with their children. We can be reached at 516-561-6645. This can be a complex legal issue.

Q: What is an acknowledgment of paternity?

A: When a child is born out of wedlock there can be an issue as to who is the father of the child. If the father of the child is present at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth, he will be asked to sign a document called “acknowledgment of paternity”. This is an affidavit which establishes he is the father of the child. If the father signs an acknowledgment of paternity, he will be obligated to pay child support to support the child.