Children born to unmarried parents in New York have no legal father under state law, which can put them at a number of disadvantages compared to other children whose fathers are known. This does not have to remain the case, however. According to the child support section on the New York state government website, unmarried parents can try to establish paternity for their child. There are several reasons why establishing paternity is important for any New York child.
As a result of establishing paternity, a child can enjoy access to greater financial support since the child now has two known parents. While one of the obvious benefits is that the father will have the responsibility of paying child support, the financial benefits to the child can go much deeper. Such benefits include drawing upon the father’s Social Security benefits, the father’s medical insurance, or veterans’ benefits if the father had served in the military.
Knowing who the father is can also grant the child additional inheritance rights. Should something happen to the father, the child will likely be awarded a large share of the father’s assets and property, or all of it if the child is the sole survivor of the father’s family. Additionally, the father may proactively write the child into his will and make sure the child receives everything that the father wishes to pass on.
Establishing paternity also opens up a child to understanding his or her family medical history. Children who know their father can trace the biological and medical history of the father and his ancestors. This informs the child of possible ailments that the father’s side of the family may be more susceptible to. This can include heart disease, cancer, and genetic disorders.
Additionally, Findlaw states that a child with an established legal father has the right to receive compensation in the event the father dies as a result of another party’s negligence. The child of the deceased father would be awarded wrongful death benefits if a court rules that another party was liable for the father’s death. The child would receive Social Security benefits as well. In an event where the father was not killed but disabled, the child could still receive Social Security payments.