Who Must Pay Child Support in a New York Divorce
In New York, in order for a child to be entitled to support,
paternity must be established. This service is offered through the child support
enforcement program. There are two ways paternity can be established:
- When both parents agree that a man
is the only possible father of a child, they can establish paternity for the
child by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This form is made
available in hospitals, through local social services agencies, and from
registrars of vital statistics in every county. The form, when witnessed and
filed with the registrar of vital statistics in the district in which the
child was born, establishes paternity and the obligation of both parents to
provide financial support for the child.
- A court can establish paternity
based on the filing of a petition naming a man as the father of a child.
Where the man denies paternity, the court must order the mother, putative
(alleged) father and the child to submit to genetic testing. These genetic
tests are performed on blood or skin cells in order to either exclude a man
as the father of a child or to establish a probability of paternity-a
likelihood than the man is the father of a child. Where the probability of
paternity is 95% or greater, the man is presumed to be the child's father,
and must prove to the court that he is not in order to avoid paternity
There are many excellent reasons for parents to legally
establish the paternity of their child.
- A man's name cannot appear on his
child's birth certificate unless paternity has been established.
- A child is entitled to financial
support, including child support, social security benefits, veteran's
benefits, military allowances, and inheritance, once paternity has been
- A child may be entitled to health
insurance through his/her father, as well as his/her mother, once paternity
has been established.
- A child deserves to know who both
his/her parents are, including having access to their medical histories.