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How to Establish Paternity in Florida

How to Establish Paternity in Florida

Establishing paternity is documenting the legal relationship of a man with his child. It protects the father’s right to his kids and supports mothers financially and emotionally. There are various situations when parents need to establish paternity, such as

  • When parents of a child are not married
  • When parents of a child are in a civil union when the child is born
  • Legal marriage does not exist between the parents living together
  • If a man wants to free himself of parenting obligations.
  • Or when a father wants to protect his parenting right to his children
  • When a mother wants to identify her child’s father

Then the man doesn’t have the legal right to be called a child’s father. Nor can he have his name added to the birth certificate. Even if the parents live together and plan to marry. They must wait until they establish paternity.

Paternity is a relationship established by the court for legal purposes without bearing on any biological relation. After establishing paternity, the father can hold the rights and responsibilities of a child. It provides the father with the following rights:

  • The legal right of parental responsibility.
  • Plus, the right to spend time with his children.
  • The right to get custody of a child.

Why Is It Important to Establish Paternity in Florida?

There are many reasons to establish paternity in Florida, some of which re listed below:

Provides Identity

Establishing paternity is essential to make children feel secure. Knowing they are part of the family makes them feel protected and helps them create a bond with other family members like grandparents, relatives, uncles, and aunts. Having a family also makes you aware of your cultural roots, so you can be more confident about where you come from.

Boost Self Esteem

Fathers play a significant role in developing children’s self-esteem. Children prefer to spend more time with their parents and like to know how they feel about them, especially their fathers.

Relationships

When you make your relationship official. Then it helps to create a special father-child bond. Plus, it gives children a sense of security that you will be there for them no matter what. It also helps to stay in touch with your kids if you and your child’s mother do not have any plans to get married. Or when you need a legal decision to meet your kids.

Financial Support

Children have their needs, and parents should be capable of fulfilling them to help them lead happy lives. While establishing paternity provides emotional support, it also offers tremendous financial support. Statistically, children with only one legal parent struggle more for basic rights and needs than children born to two legal parents.

Keep you Aware

Paternity also gives you the right to know all about your child, from educational documents to medical reports. When you’re a legal father, you will be notified about juvenile court hearings, adoption details, and anything that revolves around your child.

Children also need to know they can count on someone when in need.

Medical History

Children and their doctors must be aware of the family’s medical history to know whether they may have inherited any particular medical concern or genetic traits from any other family member that needs immediate attention.

How to Establish Paternity in Florida

Though there’s never a need to establish maternity, establishing paternity can be a different process in every state. It significantly affects the mother, father, and child involved. Here’s how you should go about establishing paternity in Florida.

Marriage

The state of Florida considers a man legally the child’s father if he married the mother when a child is born. If officially married they do not require the couple to establish paternity.

An Acknowledgment of Paternity

They can establish paternity by signing a document that states that both of them are legally responsible for the child. Typically, a married couple can use this method at the time of birth. You can proceed with signing a document when the baby is born or later, as per your needs.

Official Court Order

When the form is not signed, the couple, the alleged father, their child, or the Florida Department of Child Support Services can move with seeking a court order. In this process, the judge will hear evidence regarding the “alleged father” to decide whether to establish paternity. They may require genetic testing to prove the child’s parentage.

Genetic Testing

This is the most common test to establish paternity. Popularly known as a DNA test. It entails swabbing the inside of the mouths of both the alleged father and the child. After the test, they send the samples to the lab to determine whether the alleged person is the child’s biological father. If the test determines that he is. The court will issue an official order to legally establish paternity.

Legitimation

Legitimation is required when a couple is blessed with a child and later plans to get married. Although the law in Florida presumes the man to be the father once the couple is married, to have his name added on the child’s birth certificate as the father, the parents need to send documentation to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics. The documents that need to be sent include:

  • Marriage certificate
  • An acknowledgment of paternity
  • An Affirmation of a Common Child Born in Florida.

Get Help

Establishing paternity can become a complex procedure if you’re unsure about the eligibility criteria or have no experience dealing with legal matters. It is better to consult a family law attorney; their guidance can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities when dealing with paternity.

If you want to learn more about family law, click here.

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