In the state of Florida, the rights and responsibilities of parents are identical. This is true no matter if the parents have never been married, if they are divorced, or if they are still married.
Some parents are not aware that the same laws that apply to cases of visitation, child custody, relocation, and child support for parents who divorce also apply to parents who are not married. Not only this, but issues related to paternity can arise in all these situations that require input from legal counsel.
At Griffin Family Law, our legal team has handled all types of family law and child custody issues through the years, including questions of paternity. Our team understands how sensitive this issue can be and works to help provide superior legal representation while you work to establish or contest paternity.
Understanding Paternity in Florida
According to Florida law, there are two ways that paternity can be established:
- Marriage. If a child is born during your marriage, it is presumed that the child belongs to the husband.
- Establishment of Paternity case. With this, you establish paternity in Florida through the courts.
When paternity is established, it gives rights to the child in question and the child’s parents. When paternity is established, the child will be entitled to:
- Family medical history information.
- Health insurance and other support from the parent.
- Some relational benefits like social security and military allowance.
Additionally, the parent will receive some legal rights, too. They will also be entitled to be consulted and involved in legal decisions about the child in question, to receive child support, and receive custody or visitation.
Using the Courts to Establish Paternity
If a child is not born to parents who are married, then there are four ways to establish paternity in Florida. These methods include:
- Both parties agree to the paternity of the child and sign the acknowledgment of paternity.
- The paternity is ordered after genetic testing proves who the father of the child is.
- A judge gives a court order related to paternity.
- The couple is married once the child is born and then updates the birth record, establishing paternity.
If you are in a situation where paternity has been contested, the child’s mother or a man who believes they are the child’s father has the right to submit a petition to determine paternity. This is given to the Florida courts.
Each party involved in this paternity case is required to go to a hearing and present any evidence related to the child’s paternity. In some cases, the judge will order that genetic testing is done.
If the potential father does not agree to take part in the proceedings, the court may make him the legal father by “default.” This will result in him having to pay child support if the child’s mother requests it.
Also, if a father believes they are the father of a child to a woman they were not married to, they can have their parental rights recorded by filing with the Florida Putative Father Registry. With this registry, the father must agree to a DNA test and state that he is willing to provide support for the child. In exchange for this, the father must be contacted if the mother plans to put the child up for adoption.
Contesting Paternity in Florida
While we can help you establish paternity in Florida, our legal team can also help if you need to contest paternity. With this, the paternity petition is used, and you can contest the allegation of paternity. This is used by men when they do not believe they are the father of a child.
The petition must be provided to the child’s current legal guardian and include an affidavit from the potential father that states they are not the child’s biological father and that there is new evidence to support this claim. Like establishing a child’s paternity, contesting paternity will usually rely on genetic testing.
We Can Help with Your Florida Paternity Case
It does not matter if your goal is to establish or contest paternity; our legal team can help. We have the experience and expertise to help with your situation, no matter how difficult or complex it seems.
If you have a paternity issue that you need to be addressed, or if you have questions about your rights related to paternity, contact us today. We help ensure you get the legal representation you need and deserve for your situation. You can also count on our legal team to provide you with the information needed to help you achieve the goals of your situation.
We understand how sensitive issues of paternity can be. Our team is compassionate and takes a personalized approach to each case.