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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    New York

    Default Establishing Paternity of a Deceased Father

    My question involves paternity law for the State of: New York/Georgia (interstate case)

    I'm in NY and my son is 15. My son's father was living in NY (he was a Korean immigrant) in 1991-1994. I last saw him in the 7th month of pregnancy and he never established paternity. For a variety of reasons he was very difficult to locate. No SSN. Did not know relatives' names. He had a common name. I did know his birth date. I thought he went back to Korea. Child Support office did not find him. About 8 years ago a PI found someone of his name and birth date in Georgia. He sent me the address, not the SSN. I wrote a letter with pictures of my son to see. A woman called claiming to be his sister and said he was in Korea. From details of conversation I thought I had the wrong person completely.

    This year a PI searched for him and found him in the Social Security Death Index (died 2009). I did extensive searching to see if he was the same person and because there were a lot of public records I was able to determine it was (I saw photos). The woman was not his sister, she was his wife. They may have a daughter together and he had a son in Korea was well from his 1st marriage.

    I want to pursue a paternity case in order to obtain Social SEcurity benefits and also to learn his medical history and family medical history as there is a significant history of cancer. He died of it at 51 and his mother also died in middle age of cancer. About other relatives I don't know.

    I have to do it pro se as I do not have $3000 - 5000 for a lawyer. I have done a lot of research and this type of case has been done. Most of the cases I found were in New York (e.g. Anne R. vs. Estate of Francis C, etcetera) because the law has been more restrictive there but is changing. (NY requires you to prove by DNA evidence as well as that the father "openly and notoriously claimed the child as his own." I do not think you have to prove the second part in every state, however. Just the DNA. Which can be obtained from samples from the deceased father if available or testing of his relatives such as other children. I am trying to find his other relatives, such as his brother and sister. I am trying to track them down through the address from his Social Security application from 1991.

    My questions are:
    1 -I need to find out if he had a will. I think not and I do not think he had much to leave. I think it if a person has a will it becomes public record after they die, is that correct? I also need to find out if the daughter is his daughter (and not the wife's 1st husband's) and I think that information would be on file in the court house in Georgia - because she filed for divorce once and that information should be on there. I can go there and look.

    2 - where do I file? New York or Georgia? or either.. if I go to family court where I live will they file this? Child Support Unit will not file it unless I locate one of the father's siblings.
    3 - can a court order genetic testing of other people (not a party to the case - such as relatives) ? I think I would need their cooperation.
    4 - who would the papers be served to? His next-of-kin (wife), correct? Petitioner versus Estate of ____.

    Thanks. This is complicated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Establishing Paternity of a Deceased Father


    You cannot do this without an attorney. It's incredibly difficult to convince a court to compel DNA testing of a third party in these cases. You have had no contact whatsoever, neither has your son, so there is no relationship established at all and this further lowers your chances of success.

    Please be aware that even if paternity is eventually established, this does not entitle you or your son access to Dad's medical history. You have no right to any medical records pertaining to his family.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Establishing Paternity of a Deceased Father

    Yes, I am sure it would be difficult to get a judge to order testing of a third party. Just wondered if it had ever been done. POssibly the third party might cooperate willingly.

    Are you sure about the medical records? This is a quote from a family lawyer's website:

    "Establishing paternity is important for your child. It gives him or her the security of monthly child support and also gives your child important rights under the law:

    The right to inherit property, Social Security or Veterans' benefits from the birth father
    The right to have the birth father involved in the child's life
    The right to access the birth father's medical history, including family history of cancer, heart disease and diabetes"

    I am not talking about accessing the entire family's medical records. Just his. Most medical records have references to family history.

    I would still like to know where to file, which state's law would be applicable -NY or Georgia. NY's law on these cases has been different.

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