A lot of people don’t realize that establishing paternity is more than just creating a legal link between a father and his child for purposes of setting up a support obligation. Paternity has a number of other useful purposes such as giving a child better access to their family medical history, federal benefits, and building a relationship between father and child that can then be fostered through visitation or custody arrangements.
After considering this, though, you may have an important question on your mind now: How is paternity established under Florida law? That’s a very good question and one we’re going to look at in today’s post.
Under Florida law, paternity can be established in a number of ways:
Marriage. If a couple is married, then Florida law automatically assumes that the husband is the child’s legal father.
Acknowledgement of Paternity. If a couple is not married, parents may voluntarily sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This legal document establishes the child’s legal father and mother, allowing the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate.
Genetic testing. If paternity is in question, genetic testing may be sought voluntarily or through a court order. If the test proves fatherhood, then paternity is established and the father is granted parental rights.
Legitimation. If a couple is unmarried before the child is born, they may choose to get married after birth in order to establish paternity. The parents may then update the child’s birth records to reflect accurate parental rights.
Though obtaining legal counsel when establishing paternity may not be completely necessary in all situations, it may be necessary in cases where paternity is contested or if a court order is needed for genetic testing. Our Punta Gorda readers should remember that we handle paternity cases here at the Wallace Law Firm, and we are available to help if need be.
Source: The Florida Department of Revenue, “Establishing Legal Paternity,” Accessed Nov. 13, 2015