Paternity refers to the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. Establishing paternity is important for several reasons. For fathers, it grants them the right to custody, visitation, and decision-making for their child. For mothers, it enables them to receive child support and other benefits. In New York, there are several ways to establish or contest paternity, but it's always best to work with a family law attorney to navigate the process and protect your rights.
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The easiest way to establish paternity is through a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form. This form is usually signed by the mother and father at the hospital when the child is born. The AOP form is a legal document that establishes paternity without having to go to court. However, if either parent later contests paternity, the AOP form may be challenged.
Another way to establish paternity is through a court order. This may be necessary if the mother or father refuses to sign an AOP form, or if there are doubts about who the biological father is. In this case, a DNA test may be ordered to determine paternity. If the test shows that the man is the biological father, the court will issue an order establishing paternity.
Contesting paternity is often a more complicated legal matter that requires the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Contesting paternity may be necessary if the alleged father believes he is not the biological father of the child, or if there is evidence that the child was conceived through adultery or other circumstances that could impact the legal recognition of paternity.
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It's important to work with a Rochester paternity lawyer if you are a father or mother involved in a paternity case. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and obligations, guide you through the legal process, and help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.