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Paternity Attorney

Paternity is the legal status of being a father. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the five boroughs of Manhattan, state law presumes that if two individuals are married at the time the child is born, the husband is the legal father. If they are not married, however, the presumed father does not have legal rights and responsibilities to the child unless his biological paternity can be proven. In cases where the father's identity is in question, the law firm of Howard B. Leff, P.C. can help to establish paternity.

How to Establish Paternity

There are two ways to establish paternity:

  • Acknowledgement of paternity
  • Filing a paternity petition in Family Court

If the parents agree regarding the father's identity, they can sign a "Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity" form. This acknowledgement states that the man signing the form is the child's legal father. The form must be signed by both parents either at the time the child is born, or at a later date, and witnessed by two people who are not related to either parent.

Paternity Lawsuit

When the parents cannot agree about the identity of the child's father, a paternity lawsuit may be necessary in which case the court will order genetic testing on the mother, child and alleged father. These suits may be brought by the mother, the presumed father, a government agency, the child, or the child's representative. The results of this test are then used to determine whether there is a legal relationship between the father and child to determine whether he has rights and responsibilities.

The law firm of Howard B. Leff, P.C. can advise you on questions of paternity, assist in filing a paternity suit or defend you against a paternity action.  By establishing paternity, he can help mothers obtain financial support for the child or fathers secure custody and/or visitation rights. In any event, the main goal is to support the best interests of the child. If you have questions about establishing paternity in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the five boroughs of Manhattan, call our office for a free evaluation of your case at (516) 739-7500.


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Howard B. Leff, P.C. serves clients throughout Long Island, NY including Nassau County and Suffolk County, as well as Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Westchester.



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