Fathers in New York in theory have the same rights to parenting time and authority as mothers do. However, they sometimes need to make extra effort to fulfill a parental role. A mother’s relationship with a child is clear from birth, but a father will either need to establish his paternity through his relationship with the mother or other official means.
Unmarried fathers who did not add their name to the birth certificate of their child at the hospital may believe that any parenting time they hope to secure will be entirely dependent on the cooperation of the child’s mother. However, unmarried fathers can establish paternity and then ask for shared custody in family court.
How do you establish paternity in New York?
At any point until your child turns 18, you can potentially establish paternity with the assistance of the child’s mother. Provided that she will work with you, you can voluntarily fill out state paperwork to acknowledge your paternity and add your name to the child’s birth certificate.
Once you complete that process, you can then initiate custody proceedings. If the two of you can reach an agreement about how to share responsibility for your child, then you can file for an uncontested custody case.
If the mother is uncooperative, you may need the help of the courts to establish paternity through genetic testing. You can also litigate to secure parenting time and decision-making authority even if the mother does not cooperate with you voluntarily.
Knowing your basic custody rights as a New York father can help you show up for your children.