Establishment of Parentage
What does it mean to establish parentage?
Establishing parentage is the process of determining the legal parents of a child. Being the legal parent means that you have parental rights and responsibilities to your child, such as the right to seek custody or visitation and the responsibility for your child's care and support, including financial and medical support.
How can parents establish parentage for their child?
In New York State, parentage may be established in any of the following ways:
- Using the voluntary acknowledgment process
- Filing a petition with the Family Court to have the court determine either:
- paternity and issue an Order of Filiation, or
- parentage and issue a Judgment of Parentage.
- By a surrogacy agreement or in a record showing the consent of the parents to use assisted reproduction.
What is an Acknowledgment of Parentage?
An Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) is a form that parents can use to voluntarily establish legal parentage for a child without having to go to court. Being the legal parent means that you have parental rights and responsibilities to your child, such as the right to seek custody or visitation and the responsibility for your child's care and support, including financial and medical support.
|Parents: Can you sign an AOP?|
|If the birth parent is…||And the other parent is the…|
|Alleged Parent of a child conceived naturally||Intended Parent of a child conceived using assisted reproduction|
|Married at the time of the birth||No||Yes|
|Unmarried at the time of the birth||Yes||Yes|
- Who is an "alleged parent"?
- The person who may be the genetic parent of a child conceived naturally (i.e., through sexual intercourse) but who has not yet been legally declared to be the parent.
- Who is an "intended parent"?
- As it relates to the Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP), an intended parent is an individual who intends to be legally bound as the parent of a child resulting from assisted reproduction.
- What does it mean if a child is conceived using assisted reproduction?
The child was conceived by a method other than sexual intercourse, such as:
- intrauterine or vaginal insemination
- donation of gametes
- donation of embryos
- in vitro fertilization and transfer of embryos
- intracytoplasmic sperm injection
- My spouse and I used assisted reproduction to conceive.
Can we sign an AOP?
- Yes. Parents who conceive using assisted reproduction (for example, by artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, etc.) may choose to sign an AOP; however, it is not required to establish parentage. A child born to married parents is presumed to be the child of both parents. In addition, a record showing your mutual consent to conceive and parent a child using assisted reproduction is sufficient to establish your legal parentage for the child.
- My partner and I are not married, and we used assisted reproduction to conceive using sperm from a donor.
Can we sign the AOP?
- Yes. Parents who conceive using assisted reproduction may choose to sign an AOP to establish parentage, even if one or both of you are not genetically related to the child (i.e., you used a donated embryo, egg, or sperm). A record showing your mutual consent to conceive and parent a child using assisted reproduction is also sufficient to establish your legal parentage for the child.
- Our child was born to a surrogate. Can we sign an
- No, the AOP cannot be used if the child was born by surrogacy.
- Can parents sign an AOP to establish parentage
instead of going through a second-parent adoption?
- Yes. Signing an AOP has the same force and effect as a court determination of parentage, and eliminates the need for a second-parent adoption.
- If we sign an AOP in New York, will it be
recognized in other states?
For more information, these videos are available on YouTube:
Acknowledgment of Parentage in New York, 11 minutes
Explains when parentage needs to be acknowledged, what signing a voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form means, and who should (or should not) sign this form
Completing the Acknowledgment of Parentage Form, 9 minutes
Explains how to complete and file a voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form