On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Establishing paternity is the process of identifying the man who is the father of a child for legal purposes. This person will often be the biological father of a child, but that isn’t always the case. The law makes certain assumptions based on the status of a child’s mother at the time the child is born. An unmarried couple can establish paternity in Florida after a child is born by completing and filing certain forms or undergoing genetic testing. When paternity has not been otherwise established, a mother, a potential father, or a child has the right to bring an action in court to have paternity legally established.
At The Law Office Of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., we believe children deserve to have the parents identified who are legally responsible for them. Our Fort Lauderdale family law attorney assists both men and women who are looking to establish the appropriate legal relationship between a father and child.
How Paternity is Established in Florida?
In Florida, paternity can be established in several different ways when a child is born.
If mother married
- the husband is presumed to be the father
If mother unmarried
- Acknowledgment of Paternity –an unmarried mother and father can complete the form anytime after the child is born until the child reaches 18 years old
- the mother later marries the biological father
- civil action in court – judge determines paternity
- genetic testing through the Child Support Program – all parties must agree to the testing and the administrative determination is as valid as a court order
Why Establishing Paternity is Important?
Establishing paternity gives certain rights and responsibilities to the mother, the father, and the child. It creates a potential source of additional support for a child – through support payments or other benefits resulting from the legal relationship with the father. It also gives a father the right to seek visitation and develop a relationship with his child.
Alternatively, for someone who wants to have it determined that he should not be the legal father of a child, establishing paternity may relieve a person of parental responsibilities that are not rightfully his.
The law requires paternity to be established in cases where a mother is unmarried and was under 16 years old when she became pregnant. If paternity shows a father was 21 years or older when the mother was under 16, criminal consequences will apply to the father.
When You Need a Family Law Attorney in Paternity Matters?
Paternity concerns arise when the people involved are unable to agree. Paternity often becomes an issue when parents are not married and a father is not accepting responsibility for supporting his child. Paternity can also be an issue when a man believes parental responsibilities have been wrongfully assigned to him. And sometimes, a paternity determination is sought so that a father’s parental rights must be acknowledged by the mother of his child.
Once paternity is established, certain rights and responsibilities will need to be worked out. You want to be sure you work with someone skilled in family law negotiations. The Fort Lauderdale family law lawyer at The Law Office Of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., knows that families come in all shapes and sizes and understands that there are unique circumstances to consider. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how we can help your situation. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or call our office at 954-533-2756. If you need us after hours, we are available at 954-297-6546.