In many family law cases in Florida, a man may fill the role of a father without actually having the legal rights of a father. The issue of paternity is integral to many family law cases, and it can have a huge impact on child support and child custody cases. When paternity is questioned in a family law case, spouses may elect to have a paternity test in order to resolve legal disputes. If you have questions about your legal statu as a father and how it will impact your family law matter, reach out to an experienced Florida family attorney today. We can help ensure your legal rights are protected.
If a child is born to a married couple, then the husband is assumed to be the legal father of the baby. However, when a child is born out of wedlock, a male partner will not automatically hold the same parental rights. In these situations, the putative father will need to take extra steps to obtain legal paternity in relation to the child.
There are multiple ways to establish one’s paternal rights. One is to establish legal paternity through DNA testing. This can be initiated by either the mother or the potential father. A father whose child is born out of wedlock may solidify his legal parental rights by signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital and ensuring his name is included on the child’s birth certificate.
Why Bother Establishing Paternity at All?
Every state in America agrees that every child has the right to a legal father. A child will enjoy many rights and benefits from the establishment of legal paternity. Some of these include the following:
- Information on family and medical history
- Health or life insurance from either parent, if available
- Support from both parents, including child support and medical support
- Social security or veteran’s benefits, military allowances, and inheritances
Fore more details about what you or your child stand to gain from establishing their legal father, consult with an experienced Florida family attorney.
Child Custody, Child Support, and Paternity Testing
Establishing paternity allows for the subsequent pursuit of a child support order as well as a court order for shared custody of the child. By establishing that he is the legal parent of a child, the father can then seek joint custody, which includes timesharing and having an active voice in parenting decisions.
Florida state law requires that all decisions made about parental responsibility (e.g. parenting plans and time-sharing arrangements) are made with the best interest of the child as the primary focus. For family courts in Florida, establishing legal paternity is the first of many steps that must be taken in order to ultimately decide what role each parent will play in the child’s life.
Establishing legal paternity is also useful in helping a mother or child who wants to enforce child support obligations upon the father. In these cases, it is required that the father’s paternity be legally established before any further consideration of child support can be given by the court system..
How Family Attorneys Can Help
The skilled and experienced attorneys at CPLS, P.A. have been helping spouses Orlando and throughout Florida as they navigate the process of establishing legal paternity. Whether you are a new mom seeking child support or you are a new dad seeking custody or visitation of your child, contact Anthony Diaz and CPLS, P.A. today to schedule a consultation on your case.