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New York law regarding paternity is closely related to laws regarding the marital relationship. This includes a strong presumption that the husband of a woman who gives birth is the father of the child. State law allows people to rebut this presumption in many cases, such as if someone else claims to be a child’s biological father. A court may determine, however, that maintaining the status quo is in a child’s best interest, even if the person the child calls “Dad” is not, biologically speaking, the child’s dad. In this sense, the paternal relationship is more important than paternal biology. Courts at both the state and federal levels have addressed this issue recently.
Children Born During Marriage
The presumption of paternity in marital relationships can cut both ways, so to speak. Paternity brings with it a wide range of legal obligations to support a child, which some people welcome, while others do not. An individual may claim paternity of a child born to a mother who is married to someone else, or a husband may try to disclaim paternity if he suspects that he is not the biological father. Either way, state law sets a very high bar for anyone challenging the presumption of paternity, requiring clear and convincing evidence. The ultimate determining factor, regardless of the evidence presented, is the best interest of the child.
Children Born out of Wedlock
When a child is born to an unmarried mother, no presumption of paternity applies. State law prohibits the inclusion of a father’s name on a birth certificate unless that person has signed an acknowledgement of paternity, or a court has entered an order finding that the person is the child’s father. If a child’s mother and the acknowledged or adjudged father get married after the child is born, under New York law the marriage “legitimizes” the child.