This article provides general information on establishing paternity in Florida. However, this article does not stand in place of the expert advice of a lawyer who can provide information catered to the unique situation of your family. Contact a lawyer today.

Family is perhaps the most important dynamic in every society. However, a lack of information such as paternity can cause that dynamic to break. Establishing paternity can help to rebuild those ties, relieving pressure on the family.

Men are now more aware than ever before that the court needs to legally acknowledge individuals as a child’s father. In the sad situation of a bad divorce or allegations from another alleged father, the lack of established paternity can result in a legal battle for paperwork. If a father loses paternity, he loses much more than a simple legal battle. That father loses time with his child, loses the ability to make decisions for him, and is left to deal with far-reaching emotional consequences.

What is Paternity?

Paternity determines the legal father of a child. It is a document that legally states who the father of a child is, and that document can be used in a court of law. Determining paternity leads to expressed rights for the mother, father, and the child. These rights can include child support, visitation and insurance obligations.

How to Establish Paternity

It may be hard to decipher all the legal hoopla on every piece of paper parents sign after a baby is born. One such document is a birth certificate. In most cases, if both parents sign the certificate, the court recognizes the document as establishing paternity. Also, if parents are married at the time of a child’s birth, paternity is automatically established.

However, in the unfortunate case where the father is in question there are other options. Establishing paternity in Florida can be legally concluded several different ways, each depending on the relationship of the parents during or after a child is born.

The following information comes from Florida Department of Revenue. The full article can be read here.

The court establishes paternity through a number of different ways.

  • Genetic Testing- Parents must complete genetic testing in a certified facility.
  • Voluntary Acknowledgement- Paternity Acknowledgement Form needed
  • Marriage Licenses- This is for special cases only
  • Completion of a Birth Certificate- This comes past the birth of the child
  • Court Order- This is typically to obtain genetic testing

These are only some of the most notable ways to establish paternity in Florida. For a guideline specific to your paternity situation, ask a lawyer.

What Is The Legal Need For Paternity?

As a rule, seek legal counsel prior to proceeding with paternity testing. Having the correct forms completed to establish paternity is essential. It is absolutely required if a family is seeking to establish rights between its members.

For instance, if parents are getting a divorce, paternity can help a man with determining financial obligations and visitation rights to his child. This is important to helping the father document his right to parent or make decisions for a child. In Florida, the law acts in favor of the mother in these aspects.

A mother may seek to hold the father of a child legally responsible for his part in taking care of the child. This situation can lead to visitation, insurance responsibility as well as child support.

Also, paternity results can legally absolve a man of parental obligation. For example, if a man has found out through genetic testing that he is not the biological father of a child, that result can build a strong case for him to legally step down as a parent for that child.

Ultimately, each family has its own unique situation, and being a father in the eyes of the law is much different than being one outside of a court. A better option for men is to establish paternity before an event such as divorce so as to avoid any negative consequences.

Establishing paternity is just one part of a bigger legal battle for some families. For more information on divorce or parental rights look to Tampa Divorce Firm’s Services page.