Establishing Paternity In Florida

Where the paternity of a child is at issue, any interested party, such as the mother, the father, or the child, can ask the court for a determination, meaning a lawsuit can be brought by a private party, or by the state. A private action for paternity is usually brought by the mother to get child support and to determine paternity with certainty, via genetic testing.

The state will bring an action through the office of the state attorney general when the mother applies for public assistance, so the state can be reimbursed for public aid given. A person identified as the child’s father in a paternity suit is called the “putative father.” When the suit names the putative father as a defendant in a paternity case, he has a choice of either consenting to the entry of a paternity judgment or contesting the action.

Establishing paternity can be a complicated process with profound financial implications. Because of this, whenever paternity is disputed, we recommend consulting with one of our experienced family law attorneys. Our attorneys in Longwood, Florida, can provide you with valuable legal advice, guidance, and representation in the process of establishing paternity.

Contact Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC today to request a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney!

Acknowledging Paternity By Consent

For the putative father to consent to a paternity designation, he must sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity, which establishes the legal relationship between the father and the child. When the putative father consents to a paternity order, he consents for life. Most courts will not allow him to depart from the requirements of the order, which includes child support, even if it is later proved he is not the child’s biological father. This is why it is imperative that you seek the advice of a child support attorney in your area before consenting to paternity.

Benefits Of Establishing Paternity

In addition to providing a basis for child support, an order of paternity establishes emotional, social, and economic ties between the father and the child. Once paternity is legally established, the child gains certain legal rights and privileges, as does the father. Reasons for establishing paternity include what is listed below.

  1. Benefits – The child may be eligible for an inheritance, medical and life insurance benefits, and rights to social security and veteran’s benefits.
  2. Medical history – It is crucial to the child’s health for the doctor to have knowledge of the father’s medical history. Better understanding the family’s full history of diseases, illnesses, and birth defects can help the doctor if the child becomes sick.
  3. Identity – It is important for the child to have the ability to facilitate a stable and loving relationship with their father to foster better mental and physical health while in their crucial developmental stages of life.
  4. Psychological Benefits – Studies have shown that fathers play an important role in the lives of their children. Children who have a father figure in their lives are more likely to stay in school and avoid drugs and crime. They are also more likely to grow up to be well-adjusted adults.
  5. Visitation and custody – Once paternity is established, the father gains certain rights, such as time-sharing. Florida courts will consider the best interest of the child when determining timesharing between the parents.  Generally, parents will share 50/50 custody with the minor children but based on various factors the court considers, this can be modified. Factors the court takes into consideration when determining timesharing include,  the ability to provide stable housing, income, geographical location of each parent’s home, the role the parent currently plays in the child’s life relating to health and education, and more.

Statute Of Limitations

Some jurisdictions have placed a 4-year statute of limitations on bringing an action for paternity. Therefore, to protect your rights as a father, mother, or those of your child, it is important that you check with a child support lawyer in your state regarding paternity laws.

Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC is a law firm serving Central Florida. Our attorneys offer dependable services in several legal disciplines, including probate, estate planning, and family law. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation!