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Establishing Paternity

Every child deserves to have a father, and when you establish paternity you give rights to the father, mother, and child in the family. Some of the benefits of establishing paternity include gaining information regarding medical history, knowing the identity of the child’s father, establishing inheritance rights, possible health or life insurance, and child support. Paternity also allows both parents the legal right to get a child support order, get an order for visitation or custody, and have a right to make legal decisions about the child.

How to Establish Paternity

Under Florida law, determining whether or not the child has a legal father is an easy test. If the child is born to parents that were married at the time of birth, the child has a legal father. If the child’s mother is not married at the time of the child’s birth, then legal paternity must be established.

Florida law establishes five ways to create legal paternity. These methods include the following:

Marriage: The parents are married when the child is born. The husband is the considered the legal father and nothing else needs to be done to establish paternity. This applies even if the mother does not put her husband’s name on the birth certificate.

Acknowledgement of paternity: The unmarried couple can sign an acknowledgement of paternity form at the hospital when the child is born or later. The easiest method is to sign a Paternity Acknowledgement form at the hospital, and the man becomes the legal father as soon as it is signed. If the parents wait until later, the father can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form that you can get from a local Florida Health Department.

Administrative order based on genetic testing: Paternity can be ordered by the court if it is established by genetic testing. The mother, child, and man believed to be the father must all take a genetic test. If the test proves that the man is the biological father an Administrative Order of Paternity is issued. Many people prefer this method of paternity because:

·         There is no need to go to court;

·         There is no cost for the test;

·         The order is based purely on the genetic test results;

·         The administrative order has the same effect as a court order;

·         Genetic testing is easy and very reliable; and

·         Child support can be established quickly afterwards.

Court order: A judge can establish paternity through a court order based on the evidence presented in court. If paternity is established in this manner, both parents must show up to court, the court can order a genetic test, one or both parties may have to pay court courts and testing fees, and, if the father does not show up for court, the judge can make him the legal father by default.

Legitimization: If the parents of a child who were unmarried at the time of the birth later get married, the child’s birth certificate can be updated through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics. The parents must submit a certified copy of the marriage certificate, a completed Acknowledgement of Paternity form, and a completed Affirmation of Common Child(ren) Born in Florida form.

Call a Florida Family Law Attorney Today

If you wish to establish paternity of a child or have any other questions regarding family law issues in or around the Orlando area, let the experienced office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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