Hochul Signs Into Law Measure Granting Custody Hearings to Unwed Fathers

Written by Amy Mulzer, a senior attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services, with help from New York University law professor Christine Gottlieb, the Parental Equity aims to bring fairness to birth fathers by granting full and fair hearings regarding their fitness to care for children who were moved into foster care by the state.


Mulzer and Gottlieb worked on the bill as part of the Parent Legislative Action Network, a coalition of parents who claim to have been harmed by the family regulatory system, along with attorneys, social workers and members of academia.

“As public defenders, we have seen fathers who had close and loving relationships with their children lose their bonds forever without even being given the benefit of a trial—because New York’s Domestic Relations Law treated mothers and fathers unequally,” Mulzer said.

“The Parental Equity Act sets out clear steps that a father can take to protect his legal right to maintain a relationship with his children, and will help to ensure that father-child relationships are not treated as inherently ‘less-than’ based on outdated stereotypes,” she said.

View the full New York Law Journal article here.

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