Michael N. Bress, Esq.
A paternity suit is initiated to determine paternity. In other words, to establish the legal father of a child born out of wedlock. The threshold question in a paternity case is whether paternity has been established. If the parties were married to each other when the child was born, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. On the other hand, the natural mother of a child born out of wedlock is the sole guardian of the child, unless paternity is established and a court order grants the father custodial rights. In Florida, paternity can be established in various ways:
Legitimation occurs when the parents get married after the child is born. The husband can be recognized as the child’s father, and the process is completed by updating the child’s birth records.
A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity establishes the father’s paternity voluntarily. The form required to acknowledge paternity must be signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public or two witnesses.
Genetic Testing can also establish a father’s paternity. If there is a DNA match, the Florida Department of Revenue will direct the Florida Office of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the child’s birth record, and proceed to order child support from the father. This, however, does not grant custodial rights to the father, who must seek a court order.
Court Order Establishing Paternity. Paternity can be established by filing a paternity action in which the court may issue an order that establishes paternity. A court can also establish paternity in other actions, such as a dissolution of marriage or dependency action.
Establishing paternity confers rights, benefits, and privileges to the father, mother, and children. Benefits of establishing paternity may include health insurance, life insurance, and social security benefits. Moreover, the court can order the father to pay child support. The court can also order a parenting plan that allows the father to assume parental responsibilities and to enjoy timesharing with his child or children.
If you need legal assistance in a Paternity matter, you can contact Bress Law Firm, PLLC at (954) 336-8049, or by email at Michael@BressLaw.Com. Initial consultations are free and confidential. We are a Family Law Practice located in Aventura, Florida, but serve clients throughout Miami-Dade and Broward. By appointment only.
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