Divorce and Matrimonial

Child Support and Paternity

In the State of New York, if a child is born to married parents, there is a rebuttable presumption that the Child is “of the marriage” and that the Husband is the Father. When parties are not married, the biological father is not presumptively recognized as the legal Father upon birth of the Child. Issues of paternity can arise in a divorce action where the Husband is not in fact the Father, or in cases where the parties are not married simply as paternity may not have been established at birth (which involves both parties filling out forms and filing those forms with the Department of Health). Where parties are not married, paternity must be established before an order of child support or visitation/custody will be entertained. As such, establishing paternity is a crucial first step in the legal process.

Child support is defined as the payment(s) made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit and support of the child. In addition to basic child support, which is usually determined by a formula determined after consideration of the parties’ incomes, New York Courts can award additional sums to pay for a share of child care expenses, education costs, unreimbursed medical expenses, health insurance and college expenses of a child. The Court can also require one party to secure life insurance to secure future child support for a child in the event of the death of party paying the support.