Asked in Family Law and Child Support for New York

Q: What if I’m not sure I’m the father?

I live in NJ and got a letter from the NY courts for child support, but I’m not sure if I’m the father; I don’t even know the child and she’s already 4 years old, I have court on August, what should I do? And what are my rights ?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph H. Nivin
Joseph H. Nivin
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Sorry to hear that you are going through this. If you were married to the mother at the time of birth or conception, you signed an acknowledgement of paternity (the paper given to you at the hospital where you say that you are the father), or if you registered with the Putative Father Registry, then you are legally the child's father, regardless of biology. If none of the above are true, then you can seek a DNA test, unless there has already been a court order stating that you are the father, or you have already developed a father-child relationship.

If you are the legal father, or you are found to be the legal father, then what is called basic child support (child support that is meant to help pay for the child's basic needs) will be based upon your income. In addition to the basic child support, you will have to pay a percentage of the child's unreimbursed medical expenses and child care, so long as the child care is necessary for the mother to work or go to school. Additionally, you may, under certain circumstances, be ordered to pay for a percentage of the child's educational expenses (usually private school tuition).

Hope this helps.

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