1. The Laws of New York
  2. Court Acts
  3. Family Court
  4. Article 5: Paternity Proceedings
  5. Part 1: Jurisdiction and Duties to Support


Section 516-A Acknowledgment of paternity

Family Court (FCT)

(a) An acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law shall establish the paternity of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to this act. Such acknowledgment must be reduced to writing and filed pursuant to section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law with the registrar of the district in which the birth occurred and in which the birth certificate has been filed. No further judicial or administrative proceedings are required to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.

  (b) (i) Where a signatory to an acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law had attained the age of eighteen at the time of execution of the acknowledgment, the signatory may seek to rescind the acknowledgment by filing a petition with the court to vacate the acknowledgment within the earlier of sixty days of the date of signing the acknowledgment or the date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding (including, but not limited to, a proceeding to establish a support order) relating to the child in which the signatory is a party. For purposes of this section, the "date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding" shall be the date by which the respondent is required to answer the petition.

  (ii) Where a signatory to an acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law had not attained the age of eighteen at the time of execution of the acknowledgment, the signatory may seek to rescind the acknowledgment by filing a petition with the court to vacate the acknowledgment anytime up to sixty days after the signatory's attaining the age of eighteen years or sixty days after the date on which the respondent is required to answer a petition (including, but not limited to, a petition to establish a support order) relating to the child in which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier; provided, however, that the signatory must have been advised at such proceeding of his or her right to file a petition to vacate the acknowledgment within sixty days of the date of such proceeding.

  (iii) Where a petition to vacate an acknowledgment of paternity has been filed in accordance with paragraph (i) or (ii) of this subdivision, the court shall order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for the determination of the child's paternity. No such test shall be ordered, however, upon a written finding by the court that it is not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married woman. If the court determines, following the test, that the person who signed the acknowledgment is the father of the child, the court shall make a finding of paternity and enter an order of filiation. If the court determines that the person who signed the acknowledgment is not the father of the child, the acknowledgment shall be vacated.

  (iv) After the expiration of the time limits set forth in paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this subdivision, any of the signatories to an acknowledgment of paternity may challenge the acknowledgment in court by alleging and proving fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. If the petitioner proves to the court that the acknowledgment of paternity was signed under fraud, duress, or due to a material mistake of fact, the court shall then order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for the determination of the child's paternity. No such test shall be ordered, however, upon a written finding by the court that it is not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married woman. If the court determines, following the test, that the person who signed the acknowledgment is the father of the child, the court shall make a finding of paternity and enter an order of filiation. If the court determines that the person who signed the acknowledgment is not the father of the child, the acknowledgment shall be vacated.

  (v) If, at any time before or after a signatory has filed a petition to vacate an acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to this subdivision, the signatory dies or becomes mentally ill or cannot be found within the state, neither the proceeding nor the right to commence the proceeding shall abate but may be commenced or continued by any of the persons authorized by this article to commence a paternity proceeding.

  (c) Neither signatory's legal obligations, including the obligation for child support arising from the acknowledgment, may be suspended during the challenge to the acknowledgment except for good cause as the court may find. If the court vacates the acknowledgment of paternity, the court shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the registrar of the district in which the child's birth certificate is filed and also to the putative father registry operated by the department of social services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-two-c of the social services law. In addition, if the mother of the child who is the subject of the acknowledgment is in receipt of child support services pursuant to title six-A of article three of the social services law, the court shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the child support enforcement unit of the social services district that provides the mother with such services.

  (d) A determination of paternity made by any other state, whether established through an administrative or judicial process or through an acknowledgment of paternity signed in accordance with that state's laws, must be accorded full faith and credit pursuant to section 466(a)(11) of title IV-D of the social security act (42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(11)).

  * NB Effective until February 15, 2021

  * § 516-a. Acknowledgment of parentage. (a) An acknowledgment of parentage executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law shall establish the parentage of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to this act. Such acknowledgment must be reduced to writing and filed pursuant to section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law with the registrar of the district in which the birth occurred and in which the birth certificate has been filed. No further judicial or administrative proceedings are required to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of parentage.

  (b) (i) Where a signatory to an acknowledgment of parentage executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law had attained the age of eighteen at the time of execution of the acknowledgment, the signatory may seek to rescind the acknowledgment by filing a petition with the court to vacate the acknowledgment within the earlier of sixty days of the date of signing the acknowledgment or the date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding (including, but not limited to, a proceeding to establish a support order) relating to the child in which the signatory is a party. For purposes of this section, the "date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding" shall be the date by which the respondent is required to answer the petition.

  (ii) Where a signatory to an acknowledgment of parentage executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law had not attained the age of eighteen at the time of execution of the acknowledgment, the signatory may seek to rescind the acknowledgment by filing a petition with the court to vacate the acknowledgment anytime up to sixty days after the signatory's attaining the age of eighteen years or sixty days after the date on which the respondent is required to answer a petition (including, but not limited to, a petition to establish a support order) relating to the child in which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier; provided, however, that the signatory must have been advised at such proceeding of his or her right to file a petition to vacate the acknowledgment within sixty days of the date of such proceeding.

  (iii) Where a petition to vacate an acknowledgment of parentage has been filed in accordance with paragraph (i) or (ii) of this subdivision, the court shall order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for the determination of the child's parentage. No such test shall be ordered, however, where the acknowledgment was signed by the intended parent of a child born through assisted reproduction pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law, or upon a written finding by the court that it is not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married person. If the court determines, following the test, that the person who signed the acknowledgment is the parent of the child, the court shall make a finding of parentage and enter an order of parentage. If the court determines that the person who signed the acknowledgment is not the parent of the child, the acknowledgment shall be vacated.

  (iv) After the expiration of the time limits set forth in paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this subdivision, any of the signatories to an acknowledgment of parentage may challenge the acknowledgment in court by alleging and proving fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. If the petitioner proves to the court that the acknowledgment of parentage was signed under fraud, duress, or due to a material mistake of fact, the court shall then order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for the determination of the child's parentage. No such test shall be ordered, however, where the acknowledgment was signed by the intended parent of a child born through assisted reproduction pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law, or upon a written finding by the court that it is not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married person. If the court determines, following the test, that the person who signed the acknowledgment is the parent of the child, the court shall make a finding of parentage and enter an order of parentage. If the court determines that the person who signed the acknowledgment is not the parent of the child, the acknowledgment shall be vacated.

  (v) If, at any time before or after a signatory has filed a petition to vacate an acknowledgment of parentage pursuant to this subdivision, the signatory dies or becomes mentally ill or cannot be found within the state, neither the proceeding nor the right to commence the proceeding shall abate but may be commenced or continued by any of the persons authorized by this article to commence a parentage proceeding.

  (c) An acknowledgment of parentage is void if, at the time of signing, any of the following are true:

  (i) a person other than the signatories is a presumed parent of the child pursuant to section twenty-four of the domestic relations law;

  (ii) a court has entered a judgment of parentage of the child;

  (iii) another person has signed a valid acknowledgment of parentage with regard to the child;

  (iv) the child has a parent pursuant to section 581-303 of the family court act other than the signatories;

  (v) a signatory is a gamete donor under section 581-302 of the family court act; or

  (vi) the acknowledgment is signed by a person who asserts that they are a parent under section 581-303 of the family court act of a child conceived through assisted reproduction, but the child was not conceived through assisted reproduction.

  (d) Neither signatory's legal obligations, including the obligation for child support arising from the acknowledgment, may be suspended during the challenge to the acknowledgment except for good cause as the court may find. If the court vacates the acknowledgment of parentage, the court shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the registrar of the district in which the child's birth certificate is filed and also to the putative father registry operated by the department of social services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-two-c of the social services law. In addition, if the parent of the child who is the subject of the acknowledgment is in receipt of child support services pursuant to title six-A of article three of the social services law, the court shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the child support enforcement unit of the social services district that provides the parent with such services.

  (e) A determination of parentage made by any other state, whether established through an administrative or judicial process or through an acknowledgment of parentage signed in accordance with that state's laws, must be accorded full faith and credit pursuant to section 466(a)(11) of title IV-D of the social security act (42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(11)).

  (f) Any reference to an acknowledgment of paternity in any law of this state, or any similar instrument signed in another state consistent with the law of that state shall be interpreted to mean an acknowledgment of parentage executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law, section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law, or signed in another state consistent with the law of that state.

  * NB Effective February 15, 2021