One of the most important aspects of child support, child custody and visitation rights in a New York State family law and divorce is identifying the biological father. Frequently, this is referred to as paternity. Part of establishing paternity is seeking an Order of Filiation in Family Court. There are certain circumstances when this might be necessary. For parents who fall into this category, it is important to understand these circumstances to ensure they enjoy all the rights they are entitled to under the law. Having legal assistance is an important factor in any family law case.

When a mother and apparent father have not signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity which names the biological father and they are not married, or the mother is married to someone other than the man who is believed to be the father, there can be an Order of Filiation. With the Order of Filiation, there will be a court order naming a man as the child’s father. The father will subsequently have the rights accorded to any legal parent including visitation and custody. It is also possible he will be ordered to pay child support.

It is possible to have this order “on consent.” By that, the parents will simply agree as to the identity of the father and they will not ask for a DNA test to show that it is in fact accurate. When an Order of Filiation is given based on consent, it is difficult to change. Parents are advised to understand this before agreeing unless they are completely certain that the man is the child’s biological father. After an Order of Filiation, it will immediately activate a child support case so the man will be obligated to help the mother with the child’s care and upkeep.

A child is generally better off in myriad ways when there is a known father listed on the record. Since these cases can be complicated, a paternity determination is not always based upon whether the parents are married.  An Order of Filiation can be beneficial to everyone involved, but it is wise to have legal assistance before agreeing to it. A law firm that specializes in New York State family law and divorce can help with deciding if this is the best course and whether to move forward.