We all can visualize that cute picture. The newborn on a Facebook profile, the proud parents, goofing off and smiling in the selfie. The law rarely questions who that child’s father is. A child born to properly wedded parents will know his father. But, the situation changes when an unmarried woman has a baby. It becomes necessary to establish paternity. It has benefits for both the father and the baby.
According to the law, whoever the man and woman is married to when a baby is born, is considered to be the legal father of the child. It does not matter if the child is his, or not. If a biological father wants to become the legal father of a child, outside of marriage, he has to bring a paternity action.
When a father takes an active role in a child’s life, the children benefit – not only economically, but also emotionally and socially. More motivation to establish paternity is:
Every child has the right to know who his/her father is.
According to Florida law Chapter 742, having paternity established gives a father the right to:
The paternity action can be initiated by:
A child can also bring proceedings if he/she is unsure who his/her father is.
There are four ways that paternity can be established under Florida law.
The child’s father and mother can get married after the birth of the child. In the eyes of the law, the husband is now presumed to be the legal father of the child.
The parents can sign an “acknowledgment of paternity” right after the child is born or soon thereafter. It is a document wherein both parents concede and swear under oath that the man is the child’s legal father. The report becomes final after 60 days and cannot be revoked. This acknowledgment gives the father visitation rights, the right to have a relationship with the child and the obligation to help provide for the child.
Should the issue be contested, the parties can turn to the Circuit Court of Florida to help them establish paternity. The mother can be unwilling to indicate the father or the father may contest his involvement. In both cases, the other party can get a court order and eventually get DNA testing done to prove paternity.
The rest of the proceedings are much the same as in a divorce settlement. Included in such a court judgment regarding paternity is a parenting plan, setting out what each parent is responsible for. If the father does not want to give his corporation, it is assumed that the mother is the sole decision maker and has all of the parenting time.
Court proceedings can be circumvented, and genetic testing can be done privately. The Florida Department of Revenue will use the positive test results as proof and alter the child’s birth certificate to show the father’s name. This administrative order has the same authority as a court-issued paternity judgment.
A father’s influence in a child’s life cannot be underestimated. Modern men know this, and most of them want to spend time with their children and have a say in their lives. Paternity has to be proven for this to happen legally.
If you need a professional to help you prepare the appropriate documents with the court and assist you in getting the proper testing to determine paternity or not – let us help.