Five Ways To Establish Paternity In Florida
Legally speaking, paternity refers to officially establishing who is the biological father of the child. Once paternity is established, the father then takes on all the rights and responsibilities given to biological parents in Florida. Establishing paternity always has the potential to become very complex, and there is more than one way to do it in the state. Below, our Brandon family lawyer outlines the routes you may take if you need to establish paternity.
When a man and woman are married at the time of a child’s birth, it is presumed that the man is the legal and biological father of the child for all intents and purposes. If a couple is married, there is no need to take any legal action to establish paternity.
Acknowledgement of Paternity
Unmarried couples can both voluntarily acknowledge paternity and sign a legal document to that effect. This document acknowledges that the male signatory is the biological father of the child. Some parents choose to fill in the Acknowledgement of Paternity form right in the hospital, while others choose to fill it out at a later date. Voluntarily acknowledging paternity is not an option if the mother is married at the time of the birth.
If there is a dispute about the paternity of the child, either party can take the matter to court. A judge will listen to evidence about the alleged father and will make the final decision on paternity. The court may order the alleged father to undergo genetic testing to determine if they are the parent of the child.
A couple can choose to get genetic testing done on their own, or a court may order it. The process of genetic testing involves a swab being taken from the cheek of the alleged father and the cheek of the child. If the test results come back and show that the man is the biological father of the child, an administrative order will be issued to make it official.
It is not uncommon for an unmarried couple to have a child together and later, they get married. In these instances, state law will presume the husband to be the biological father after the two parties are legally married. If the father would like to be added to the child’s birth certificate, they must send an “Affirmation of Common Child Born in Florida” and other important documents to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics.
Our Family Lawyer in Brandon Can Help with Paternity Issues
Establishing paternity is a sensitive and complex issue. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, our Brandon family lawyer can help. At Koether Law, P.A., our skilled attorney can provide the counsel and guidance you need, while helping you through the process and giving you the best chance of a successful outcome with your dispute. Call us today at 813-347-8193 or fill out our online form to schedule a confidential consultation and to learn more.