By Jason Stern
Kinship Law: Non-marital children
A common thread in kinship matters seems to be what to do with non-marital children with respect to their rights to inherit. As experienced New York kinship lawyers we have litigated both sides of this often complex issue. In these types of kinship cases, it is important to note that if a claimant coming forward was conceived out of wedlock but whose parents eventually married, a strong presumption of this claimant’s kinship status to inherit may exist.
Recently we helped litigate a case for another firm whose client was the biological son of a mother who was not married to the claimant’s father at the time of his conception. In fact our claimant had a different father listed entirely on his birth certificate. However our claimant’s biological mother eventually married the man who would later hold himself out as the claimant’s father. As a result, the Court found a strong presumption that our claimant’s non-marital father was in fact the biological father for kinship purposes.
When the Court determines that a decedent had clearly held out a claimant as their heir, they tend to waive the requirement of actual biological proof of kinship. As such, a good kinship attorney in New York can often prove up a non-marital claimant’s right to inherit especially if the claimant’s parents were eventually married.