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#772225 - 07/29/16 03:26 PM In New York, rights of unmarried father
mongoman Offline

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Registered: 07/29/16
Posts: 4
In NY, DRL appears to only apply to married or purportedly married parents. If the parents were never married, what law provides for custody/visitation by the father?

(Actually, NY law doesn't even seem to define father.)

Specifically, I am trying to find out if there is a law which provides for the father to participate in the raising of the child, without the consent of the mother.

I have read NY Family Court Act and also the Domestic Relations Law, cover to cover, so I figure I have missed something, hence this post. Thanks.

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#772226 - 07/29/16 06:59 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: mongoman]
MinnesotaMom Online   content

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Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 787
You need an attorney and have establish paternity first. You can then file for parenting rights. The typical time you would get is every other weekend and mid week for a couple hours. Until you have a court order for parenting time, the mother is not required to ever let you see or have the child.

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#772227 - 07/31/16 11:36 AM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: MinnesotaMom]
Annie7676 Offline
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Registered: 06/05/05
Posts: 933
Loc: NY
Correct establish paternity, then go to the court and establish your visitation through the courts.

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#772228 - 08/01/16 04:40 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: Annie7676]
mongoman Offline

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Registered: 07/29/16
Posts: 4
As near as I can determine, Art 6 of Family Court Act handles matters such as custody, but there is no provision there for any custody, excepting unusual cases such as an unwilling, unfit or dead mother. I can find no other provision, applicable to unmarried fathers, for custody.

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#772229 - 08/01/16 09:23 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: mongoman]
MinnesotaMom Online   content

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Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 787
"Specifically, I am trying to find out if there is a law which provides for the father to participate in the raising of the child, without the consent of the mother."

To answer your question. You are a legal stranger to the child according to the law until you establish paternity. If you saw the child without consent, you would have a restraining order put in place and could possibly be charged with several different crimes depending on the situation. Why don't you file for paternity? All you have to do is google : "how to establish paternity in new york" to get the process.

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#772230 - 08/02/16 09:07 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: MinnesotaMom]
mongoman Offline

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Registered: 07/29/16
Posts: 4
I want to understand things before I do them. At this point I can see no operation of law which provides for father's rights in the case where the parents are unmarried.

Again, I go back to the law. DRL governs custody when there is a marriage. That doesn't apply here. FCT (Family Court Act) ONLY covers custody when the mother is unfit (which is not the case here).

Since DRL doesn't apply, FCT can be the only body of law which applies, and it lacks any provision for the father to exercise parental rights. If the mother consented, then an agreement could be struck, but I am reluctant to start on something which will piss her off and polarize her, unless I believe it can have a positive outcome.

This is why I am asking the question.

FWIW, I have interviewed three attorneys, which have all told me that "every case is different" and "we will fight for you" but none has answered this question.

I can find all kinds of cases where joint custody has been awarded to fathers, but I can also find lots of cases where it has not, and the court states that, "in the case of unmarried parents, it is inappropriate to award joint custody."

Again, I can find NO STATUE which provides for custody for the father in the case of unmarried parents, in New York, unless the mother is unfit.

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#772231 - 08/03/16 12:28 AM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: mongoman]
Annie7676 Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/05/05
Posts: 933
Loc: NY
Do not think there is any definite answer here. Since unmarried couples with children is more prevalent in the courts now a lot depends on what will be determined. As everyone has said, paternity needs to be developed. Lawyers are very tricky. You need one that is very experienced in this and has more than the lets wait and see. A friend of mine is doing the same thing, fighting to get joint custody, its a [censored] but probably worth the risk. Both parents, if equally, responsible should have the right for this. It really shouldn't rest on trying to paint the other parent as unfit. Good luck.

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#772232 - 08/03/16 03:06 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: Annie7676]
TJMH Offline

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Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 344
I can believe that "every case is different" but it seems like a lawyer who has experience in this area ought to be able to at least tell you what the applicable law is, give a "broad brush" idea of what the steps would be (first step almost certainly would be legally establishing paternity, without that I'm sure you have no legal rights at all) and what your chances are based on how your local courts view these issues.

I'd keep interviewing lawyers until you find one who sounds like they've done this before and know how it works. Nobody here is going to be able to give you a better answer on NY family law than a lawyer who practices in that area.

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#772233 - 08/03/16 04:31 PM Re: In New York, rights of unmarried father [Re: mongoman]
MinnesotaMom Online   content

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Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 787
The attorneys avoid the question because you already have the answer. Unmarried fathers getting primary custody in NY is nearly impossible without the mother being proven unfit. Getting shared custody is most common when the other parent agrees. Otherwise, your attorney(s) should be telling you can expect to have your child every other weekend with a mid-week visit (after you establish paternity) and you pay child support. It may not seem fair, but there is no equality in family court; they go by what is known as "the best interest of the child". Also, if the child is very young, the courts tend to give fathers only a few hours a week until the child gets a little older.

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