If you want to be involved in the child's life, the first thing you should do is register with the putative father registry. After that you should both go to court and establish that you are the father so that you have rights in regard to the child. After that it all depends on your relationship with the mother if orders of custody and visitation are necessary. See a family law attorney for further advice.
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Other than to say that you will be responsible for the support of the child, as well as have a right to visit with the child (and the child will in turn have a right to inherit from you), I am otherwise unclear on what "legal position" you're inquiring about. That said, I encourage you to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody/Support lawyer.
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It is good to read that you want to do the best for the child. You are going to have a legal obligation to support the child, but you are going to want to be involved in the child's life. You should do what you can to see that Mom gets appropriate prenatal care and emotional support. Sit down with Mom and have a long discussion to plan out how the two of you will co-parent this child. Dedicating yourself to being the best father that you can be to this child is the most important thing you can do.
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I agree with the other lawyers who posted. I would just add that if things are friendly between you and your ex- right now, you might consider going to a lawyer or a mediator to work out a custody and support agreement that will outline any agreements you may have about visitation/access and support. The child is young and things change quickly but there is no need to wait for a disagreement and end up in court. Talk to friends and family who may have practical advice about child-rearing, maybe even take some parenting classes together. This may help give you some ideas to see what you and your ex- can work out that may make a flexible arrangement to act as a framework for your parenting. Best of luck!
Morghan Leia Richardson, Esq.
Richardson Legal PLLC
31-08 Broadway, Suite 204
Astoria, New York 11106
When the child is born, sign the acknowledgement of paternity and get your name on the birth certificate. When the child is born, you can file for custody/vistation with the child so that you can establish a parenting schedule and be a part of the child's life. In the interim, make sure that you are there for your former girlfriend and help pay the expenses of the child's birth. Good Luck.
While I have a deep and abiding respect for my esteemed colleagues who have so eloquently and correctly responded to your question, I have to offer a differing opinion on the assumption that your plans for the mother and child involve permanence or not.
The government has a monopoly on intervening in your family like you cannot imagine. The birth of a child triggers all sorts of interloping and invasion of your privacy under federal law as executed by the state. If you raise your voice to the mom, she can have you arrested for harassment. An order of protection can get you rearrested repeatedly. New York is a "tough" state: so arrests are mandatory and prosecution is "no drop" even though you actually said and did nothing at all to the mom. These orders of protection are used to divest people of their children and their property. There is no defense.
The mentality throughout the country is that you must report for child support proceedings to support your child revealing all your finances now and until the kid is 21. Seeing your kid becomes a frequent court event where a psychologist will look into your mind to write down all of its quirks. You will be a detailed statistic in a government data base fending off arrests and/or fending off increased payments. So your life will include this year's tax increase, a 2014 medical coverage tax, periodic arrests and incarcerations, interrupted employment, lost housing, lost licensure and a built up criminal record.
If you wish to leave mom alone and stay far away, court may not work well for you. She may wish to marry someone else and you may wish to move on. You both will be free to enjoy your peace and privacy for years to come. Maybe mom will let you know how the child is doing and perhaps you can contribute to her schooling, music lessons or whatever else dads do for their children.
If you go to court, you'll be in a national welfare computer fully exposed in everything you do. You'll have to file periodic financial disclosures revealing your income and net worth. You'll undergo periodic psychological evaluations and the reports will be known to lawyers and the court. Mom may wish to regulate your access to the child by trimming visitation and you'll go to court exposing yourself further. Child support will regulate your life. Your ability to drive a car, buy a home or get a job will be directly affected by the data this system puts into your credit report. If you graduate something, your increased income will be fodder for another support petition. If you lose your job, arrearages will build until mom files a violation petition that will lead to your incarceration, loss of licensure and damage to your credit.
So, if you do go to court, any of us fine lawyers will be happy to represent you. Each of us spends every waking minute racking our brains figuring out how to protect our clients through thick and thin. Each of us is definitely worth the money as you may find out when unrepresented: penny wise is to be pound foolish. Keep a lawyer's number by your phone at all times and don't get into fights with your lawyer. You'll be thoroughly undone and the child will still not know you in a favorable light.