Family Court

Family Court Proceedings

Dikman & Dikman represents clients in Family Court proceedings, including Paternity, Child Custody, Visitation, Parenting Time, Child Support, Spousal Support, Enforcement of Orders, Modification of Orders, and Domestic Violence/Order of Protection petitions.

family law

We can explain all facets of your case and the rules that apply, ensure your rights and interests are addressed, and assist in achieving the best result possible. The standards for determination are typically the same as would be applied by a Supreme Court judge in a divorce action. Please follow the links above for information on each particular issue or contact us to learn more about how our attorneys can assist in resolving your New York family law issues.


A Paternity case seeks to determine who is the father of a child, as the identity of the mother is always known. A determination of paternity usually occurs in the Family Court. A paternity finding results in a formal court order known as an “Order of Filiation.” This order establishes both parental rights (to custody and visitation) and obligations (child support).

When two parents are married there is a “presumption of legitimacy”, meaning that a child born during the marriage is viewed as the child of both parents. If another man is alleged to be the natural father of a child born during the marriage, then a Court proceeding will be necessary, during which adequate proof will be required to overcome the presumption of legitimacy. Once that is completed, an Order of Filiation can name the unmarried man as father of the subject child.

When two parents are not married, there is no such presumption. Paternity must be established, but it isn’t always required to bring a court case. When a child is born in New York, the father may or may not be present at the hospital during and after the birth. When present in the hospital, the staff will offer the opportunity for the unmarried parents to sign a form known as an “Acknowledgment of Paternity.” This form is sufficient to establish paternity in the eyes of the law and leads to the issuance of a birth certificate with the father’s name. No paternity case will be required. Occasionally, a man believing he is the father of the child signs this form at the hospital and he comes to believe thereafter that he is not the father. In such an event, the father must immediately challenge and seek to set aside the Acknowledgment of Paternity in court. Failure to do so may lead to an inability to challenge the acknowledgment at a later date.

When no Acknowledgment of Paternity has been signed at the hospital, it will be necessary to bring a paternity case in court seeking an Order of Filiation before the court will order a father to pay child support or order a mother to provide visitation and parenting time with the child.

Filing a paternity petition is relatively easy and can be achieved without counsel with the assistance of the Family Court clerk. Once the petition is filed and the mother/Respondent is served with the papers, the parties will be expected in court. If there are no issues concerning paternity, the father may admit his paternity in court without DNA testing. The case can be immediately finalized if DNA testing is waived. If the alleged father wakes up years later and wants DNA testing, he may be precluded by the Court. If there is any question of paternity, or even if there seems to be no question, DNA testing is recommended just to be sure. The court will advise each party that there is mandatory DNA testing if either person requests it. Assuming DNA testing will take place, the court will issue an order that requires the parties to submit a DNA sample as well as the subject child. A report will be rendered which may exclude the man as the father or will determine that the likelihood of parentage is higher than 99%.

In a disputed paternity matter, the DNA testing results will usually form the basis for a resolution without a trial. In the face of a positive DNA test result, the father denying paternity is likely to finally admit paternity and move on. However, a right to a trial exists and a Family Court judge will determine paternity after a formal trial if need be.

Once a finding of paternity is made either based upon the admission of the father or an order after trial, there will be an immediate question raised as to child support and the court is mandated to make a support order at such time if the mother so requests.