What Do I Need to Do to Prove I am the Father in Florida?
Establishing paternity for a child is not always an easy process. As a father, or potential father, what you will need to do will depend entirely on the specific circumstances of your case. In this post, our Orlando paternity lawyer explains the different ways in which you can establish paternity under Florida law.
Proving Paternity in Florida
If you reside in the Orlando metro area, paternity for your child must be established under Chapter 742 of the Florida Statutes. Under the state’s regulations, there are three primary ways in which paternity can be proven:
If you are married to your child’s mother at the time of the birth, then paternity is assumed. You do not have to do anything to be considered the legal father of the child. In fact, even if your wife leaves your name off of the child’s birth certificate, you are still assumed to have full parental rights. If you or your wife believes that you are not actually the biological father of the child, additional legal action must be taken to get parental rights (or alternatively, your parental obligations) removed.
If you and your partner are not married at the time of your child’s birth, but you both agree that you are in fact the father of the child, you can sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. To be clear, both you and your partner must agree to sign this form. Further, your partner must be unwed at the time of your child’s birth, and you both must have good faith reasons to believe that you are the biological father. When this form is submitted, you will automatically assume full parental rights of your child.
Finally, in cases of disputed paternity, you will need to take legal action to establish your rights. Unfortunately, if the child’s mother is not being cooperative, it makes the process far more frustrating and challenging. In this circumstance, it is highly recommended that you consult with a top-rated Central Florida paternity lawyer immediately. If legitimate cause can be shown to do so, a Florida administrative official can order genetic testing of you and of the child. Should the test results prove that you are the biological father of the child, then an Administrative Order of Paternity can be issued without delay. This order will grant you parental rights. From here, your lawyer can help you take action to exercise those rights, so that you can seek sole or shared custody of your child.
Contact Our Orlando Paternity Lawyer Today
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., our legal team fully understands the importance of fathers. If you need help establishing paternity and protecting your parental rights, please contact our family law firm today at 407-521-7171. Family law consultations are always fully confidential. We are based in Orlando and represent fathers throughout Central Florida, including in Orange County, Osceola County and Seminole County.