Paternity Attorney in Orlando
If a child is born outside of wedlock, a father must establish paternity before claiming any rights to custody or visitation.
Paternity Laws in Florida
Florida Paternity Law treats fathers differently depending on whether their child was born in or outside of wedlock. In cases where a child is born to married parents, the child is assumed to be the husband’s offspring. Meanwhile, in situations where a child is born out of wedlock and no judgment of paternity is entered, the father has no immediate parental rights. In these cases, a father may still pay child support, but the law does not protect the father’s custody and visitation rights until a judgment of paternity is issued.
How Paternity is Established
There are two ways to establish paternity in Florida: through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, or by filing a petition to determine paternity in court.
The first option involves both parents signing the document, acknowledging, and swearing under oath that the man signing the form is the child’s legal father. Once both parents sign the form, the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. After 60 days, the acknowledgment becomes final. If either party wishes to revoke the agreement, they must prove in court that the form was signed under the pretense of fraud or usage of extreme force.
If the Acknowledgment of Paternity form is not an option, either party can file a petition in court to determine paternity. A case may be initiated before the child is born, but the final hearing cannot be held until after the birth. Also, whenever a paternity case is brought before the court, the judge may also make orders regarding child custody, visitation, and support. If the judge does not award orders regarding child custody, the mother is presumed to have sole custody and decision making authority.
Why Establish Paternity?
Establishing Paternity can help single mothers get the financial support they need to care for their families. Moreover, children may also stand to benefit from any health insurance, government benefits, and inheritance the father may have.
However, not all cases concern the plights of mothers. Establishing paternity could also be an excellent opportunity for father’s who are sure of their biological relationship with their child. It could be the perfect way to secure legal parental rights that would ultimately lead shared visitation and joint decision making authority.
The Law Office of Mark Bakay Helps Families in Orlando, FL
The role a father plays in a child’s life is critical to the child’s development and well-being. Establishing paternity will permanently form the father’s legal relationship to the child, along with their parental rights and responsibilities.
At the Law Office of Mark Bakay, we understand the importance of a father and child relationship. Our founding attorney has years of experience protecting the parental rights of our clients and represents mothers and fathers seeking paternity, or contesting it. To discuss your paternity options with an experienced attorney, contact our office in Orlando to set up a consultation.