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New York Paternity Laws

In the past, determining paternity was not always an easy task. Imagine, after all, trying to determine a biological father based only on blood type -- the odds aren't great. However, with the rise of DNA technology, potential parents are now able to quickly and reliably determine biological relationships with a simple swab of the cheek. Although such technology is now available over the counter in many areas, states like New York have emphasized that only DNA tests ordered by courts or medical professionals can be used to establish paternity for legal purposes.

New York automatically presumes that a father married to the mother at the time of birth is the legal father. This can sometimes raise issues if the child is not actually the husband's biological child. However, paternity issues more often arise when parents are unmarried at the time of birth. In those situations, New York allows for two processes to establish paternity:

  1. An acknowledgment of paternity signed by the father at the time of birth; or
  2. An order of filiation issued by the court on a petition to establish paternity.

New York allows petitions for paternity to be initiated by the:

  • Mother;
  • Person alleging to be the father;
  • Child;
  • Child's guardian, next of kin, or another person in a parental relationship;
  • Representative of a charitable or philanthropic society; or
  • Representative of a public welfare agency.

New York Paternity Laws at a Glance

The best starting point to learning more about New York Paternity laws is by reviewing the related state statutes, some of which are provided in the chart below.

  • Family Court Act Section 513 (unmarried parents are responsible for their child's support)
  • Family Court Act Section 514 (fathers are liable for reasonable pregnancy expenses)
  • Family Court Act Section 516-a (recognizing acknowledgments of paternity, use of paternity tests and out-of-state paternity determinations)
  • Family Court Act Section 523 (petition to initiate paternity action)
  • Family Court Act Section 542 (orders of filiation)
  • Public Health Law Section 4135 (birth certificates and acknowledgments of paternity)
Is There a Process to Rescind or Vacate an Acknowledgment of Paternity?

Yes. Section 516-a allows one to rescind or vacate an acknowledgement of paternity within 60 days of its execution or within 60 days of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child.

A challenge can be made after that time period by proving that the acknowledgment was signed under fraud, duress or due to a mistake of fact.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Paternity Laws: Additional Resources

Learn More About New York Paternity Laws from an Attorney

It goes without saying that establishing paternity has important and lifelong consequences. Whether you're seeking to prove or disprove paternity, it's important to understand how the laws apply to you. Before taking any action, you should consult with a skilled family law attorney in New York to learn about your rights under the law and what steps to take going forward.

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