If you and your baby’s father aren’t married when you give birth, New York takes the position that she doesn’t have a legal father. You and the father can correct this if you jointly prepare and sign an acknowledgment-of-paternity form, or AOP. The AOP has the same force and effect as a court order naming him as the father.
Where to Get the Form
If you know that you and your partner want to sign an AOP form, you won’t have to look for one: the staff at the hospital or birthing center should offer it to you when your baby is born. If you want some time to think about it, you can go online later to New York’s child support website. It provides a link for form LDSS-4418 -- the acknowledgment of paternity. You have until your child’s 22nd birthday to complete and file it.
What to Do With the Form
The staff will probably take care of filing the AOP for you If you sign the form in the hospital. Otherwise, take it or mail it to the registrar of the district where your baby’s birth certificate has been filed. The registrar will mail you a certified copy when the AOP has been processed. If you’re in New York City, you can file it with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Someone must witness your signatures on the form and the witness can’t be related to either parent.