Select Page

The Truth About Father’s Rights on Long Island

by | Dec 18, 2018 | child custody and support, divorce, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, News and Events

When most people consider child custody on Long Island, they think about married couples getting a divorce and determining how parenting time is divided between the two. However, divorcing couples are not the only people who have to deal with matters of child custody. These issues also affect unmarried parents, and traditionally, most people also think unmarried fathers automatically have fewer parental rights than unmarried mothers do. However, as New York law progresses and the State has realized that a child mentally and emotionally benefits greatly from equal time spent with each parent, unmarried fathers are gaining ground.

Divorce Attorney Consultation

To Gain Parental Rights, You Must First Establish Paternity

Establishing paternity is an absolute necessity to gain any type of parental rights to a child. There are several ways unmarried fathers can go about this:

  • Signing the hospital birth certificate. Even if the parents are unmarried, the father can sign the birth certificate — also considered an acknowledgement of paternity — which will afford him legal rights to the child.
  • Petitioning the court. An unmarried father can petition the New York Family Court to consider naming him as the legal father of the child. This is known as obtaining an Order of Filiation and typically, this is done after DNA evidence has been obtained that he is, indeed, the child’s father. Once a father has an Order of Filiation, he can ask the court to enforce his parental rights if the mother of the child is uncooperative.

It’s important to note that once paternity is legally established, an unmarried father then becomes financially responsible for the child. He will typically be ordered to pay child support in an amount that is calculated based on his earned salary. However, most unmarried fathers do not go through the challenges of establishing paternity simply to pay child support. They desire to exercise their legal rights as the child’s father for a variety of reasons.

Rights of an Unmarried Father

Once paternity is proven, the rights of an unmarried father are that of a married father. He has the legal right to be involved in decisions regarding his child’s health and welfare. He also has the right to visitation with his child or even joint custody. A mother cannot legally interfere with a father’s visitation or custody rights once paternity has been established. A father can also deny third party adoption if the mother plans to offer the child up for adoption. In such a case, he may seek to have sole custody or to participate in the selection of adoptive parents.

In a case where a father believes the child is unsafe with the mother, he has the right to request a hearing to determine if the mother is unfit and he can assume full custody. This is rare, however, and is generally only granted when it can be proven that the mother has a substance abuse problem or has harmed or abused the child in some way. However, without establishing paternity first or obtaining an Order of Filiation, an unmarried father has no more right than the average person to help a child in an abusive situation.

Protect Your Rights as a Father. Contact Our Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Today

New York laws are changing in regards to child custody and although unmarried mothers still have the upper hand by default when it comes to rights over a child, there are ways that unmarried fathers can assert their parental rights and petition the New York Family Court to uphold them. The process can be long, exhausting, and expensive, however, it has been proven time and again that children benefit from meaningful relationships with both parents. Furthermore, if a father believes his child is in danger from the mother, he has a responsibility to protect the child in whatever way he can.

See this page to learn everything you need to know about Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island.

Don’t let your father’s rights be denied by your child’s mother or by other officials who aren’t familiar with the law. Call our Long Island Divorce and Family Law Firm today for a free consultation to learn more about how to assert your rights as the legal father of a child at 631-923-1910. Or, fill out our quick online form and we’ll get right back to you.

Check out our Divorce Guide for Dads for more information about divorce issues specifically related to fathers.



Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

All Fields Are Required


Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York



Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



divorce questions answered



Long Island Divorce Guide

* indicates required


Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.


Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator

Pin It on Pinterest