On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Regardless of whether you are trying to establish or contest paternity, you probably have lots of questions about how paternity is determined in Florida as well as whether or not you need a paternity attorney in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in the Sunshine State.
In Florida, paternity is determined in one of the following ways:
- Childbirth during the marriage (when a child is born in the course of a marriage, the husband is automatically considered the father of that child); or
- Establishment of Paternity case through a family court (in situations when a child is born outside wedlock).
Establishing paternity in Fort Lauderdale to obtain legal rights
Establishing paternity is important not only to know who fathered the child, but also to obtain the rights for both the child and the parents. Our Fort Lauderdale paternity attorney at The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., explains that when paternity has been successfully established, the child is entitled to:
- Information on family medical history;
- Support and health insurance from the parents; and
- Social security and other benefits, if available.
By establishing paternity, a father will be entitled to:
- make decisions regarding the child;
- obtain child custody and/or child visitation rights; and
- collect child support.
How to establish paternity in Florida?
When a child is conceived outside of marriage, the father can establish paternity and obtain legal rights as a parent by doing any of the following:
- The father and mother of the child agree to paternity by signing an acknowledgement of paternity;
- A genetic test establishes paternity;
- A judge provides a court order of paternity; or
- The father and mother get married after childbirth and provide the court with an updated childbirth certificate establishing paternity.
Contesting paternity in Fort Lauderdale
But what happens when paternity is contested by either the mother of the child or any man claimed to be the father of the child? Our experienced paternity attorney in Fort Lauderdale explains that when paternity is contested, the mother or the alleged father may bring a petition to establish paternity.
Both the mother and any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of the child will have to attend the hearing to prove or disprove paternity. In the course of the hearing, the judge may order a genetic test to establish paternity in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Florida.
Even if you, as an alleged father, do not attend the hearing, a court may order you the “default” father in your absence. As a result, you may be required to pay child support and/or assume certain parental rights.
If you want to establish paternity, you can file a petition with the Florida Putative Father Registry to request a DNA testing and consent to support the child. When – and if – the child is put up for adoption, you, as the alleged father whose records have been submitted to the registry, will be contacted and may be able to assume parental rights.
Why you need a paternity attorney in Florida
The procedure for contesting paternity in Florida is quite similar. If you have reason to believe or know for a fact that you are not the father of the child, you can file a petition with the family court and request DNA testing. The final decision in your paternity case will hinge on the results of genetic testing rather than your statements or the statements provided by the child’s mother.
Regardless of whether you are trying to establish or contest paternity in Florida, you need help from a Fort Lauderdale paternity attorney. Here at The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., our lawyers provide a free consultation. We understand the challenges and difficulties of bringing a paternity action in Florida, which is why you need a skilled attorney by your side to protect your rights. Call our offices at 954-533-2756 for a free case evaluation.