A child’s birth certificate is a record. It has no power on its own to give parental rights to the parents listed on it. Therefore, putting your name on your child’s birth certificate does not secure your paternity.
The Florida Department of Revenue explains the only way you would have automatic paternity upon the birth of your child is if the mother is your spouse. If you are not in a marriage with the mother, you have no legal rights until you establish paternity.
At the hospital, you can fill out a form to give you parental rights. You and the mother must both complete the form. Another option is if you later marry the mother, you can establish paternity through the court when you get your marriage license.
If you are in a situation where the mother is not in agreement that you are the father or wishes to prevent you from having parental rights, then you will need to go through a legal process to gain legal recognition as the father. There are two ways this may happen.
If you get an order through the state, usually from child support services or family services, it will allow you to compel the mother to get a DNA test on the child. Once the results come back, the state can declare you the father, which gives you rights.
The other option is to go before a judge and request a DNA test to help you secure your rights. Once the judge issues the order, the mother must comply or she may face legal action against her. When the court receives the test results, the judge will then award you parental rights.
You should establish your rights because until you do so legally, you have no ability to raise the child, spend time with him or her or do anything else regarding the child.