How Long Do Fathers Have To Establish Paternity In Florida?
Fatherhood seems like a straightforward concept, but there are times when it can become complex. In Florida, fathers may have to legally establish paternity if they were not married to the mother at the time of birth. Establishing paternity has many benefits. It gives the father child custody and visitation rights, as well as child support. Fathers only have a limited amount of time to establish paternity in Florida, though. Below, our Brandon paternity attorney explains how long you have to complete the process.
When Should Fathers Establish Paternity?
Ideally, fathers should establish paternity as early as possible. Establishing paternity at the time of birth, for example, is most recommended in situations when it is practical. This can help avoid potential issues in the future. Couples can establish paternity at the time of a child’s birth by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. When the mother and alleged father cannot agree on paternity, the matter will have to go to court, which should also be done as soon as possible.
It is important to note that if a man was married to the mother at the time of the birth, paternity is already established. Even if the man was not married to the mother at the time of conception, but the couple was wed at the time of birth, the man is presumed to be the father.
How Long Does a Father Have to Establish Paternity?
As with most legal issues, establishing paternity is governed by a statute of limitations, or a time limit. Fathers have only four years from the date the child turns the age of majority, which is 18 in Florida. As such, paternity must be established by the time the child is 22 years old.
How Long Does Establishing Paternity Take?
The most common way of establishing paternity is filling out the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Once the form has been signed by both parties, paternity is officially established 60 days later.
Unfortunately, there are times when disputes arise regarding paternity. A mother may argue that a certain man is not the father of her child and should not be granted visitation rights. Or, a man may argue that they are not responsible for paying child support because they are not the biological father of the child.
When there is a dispute, the parties must take the matter to court so a judge can order a DNA test. The amount of time this takes can vary on many factors, including how long it takes to schedule a court hearing, and the length of time it takes for the test results to come back. Additionally, while either party can petition the court to establish paternity before the birth, the testing will not take place until after the child is born. This is so the DNA of the mother, alleged father, and child can all be tested and compared.
Call Our Paternity Attorney in Brandon Today
Establishing paternity is a unique legal issue, and you need sound advice. At Koether Law, P.A., our Brandon paternity attorney can provide it and advise on the legal options available to you. Call us now at 813-347-8193 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.