PATERNITY ISSUES IN FLORIDA?
WE HELP BOTH MOTHERS & FATHERS ESTABLISH OR CHALLENGE PATERNITY
Every parent wants the best for his or her child, including all of the rights and support possible during childhood. If you’re a single parent who does not have a child support or time-sharing order or a parent who wants more access to your child, Pazos Law Group can help. Establishing paternity in Florida is the first step to resolving many of the other issues related to your children. Our team of paternity lawyers can help!
WHY ESTABLISH PATERNITY IN FLORIDA?
If family court cases related to children are a house, then establishing paternity is the foundation on which everything else rests. Florida courts assume that a child born within a marriage is the legal and biological child of both spouses. If you were single, however, when the child was born, establishing paternity can have a number of important benefits.
Establishing paternity can give:
- the child rights of inheritance and support from his or her father
- the mother the right to seek a child support order
- the father the legal right to participate in decisions concerning the child’s education, health care, religion, custody, physical placement and visitation
- the child the opportunity to develop a relationship with the father, supported by a time-sharing plan
- the child rights to social security, veterans’ benefits, military allowances, life and health insurance, and family medical history information
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE FILING A PETITION FOR PATERNITY IN FLORIDA
The first thing to understand before you begin the process of establishing paternity is that the process can be complex and time-consuming. If you are also hoping to establish a child support order as well as a parenting plan, you’ll definitely need an experienced family law attorney on your side. At Pazos Law Group, we have worked with families of all sorts to help them move toward a better future. We can do that for you with your paternity case and with all that comes afterward.
If you are a father seeking a legal declaration of paternity, you should immediately register your paternity with the Florida Paternity Registry before pursuing your rights. If you are a mother starting the paternity petition, understand that you have sole custody and decision-making power until the petition has been decided by the court, and the court has approved a time-sharing and child support order.
If you’re ready to pursue your paternity petition, contact Pazos Law Group at (954) 951-2405 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your initial consultation.
Contact Our Florida Paternity Lawyers
HOW CAN PATERNITY BE ESTABLISHED?
ESTABLISHING PATERNITY VOLUNTARILY
Families who want to establish paternity can fill out the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Form. Each parent, by signing this form, are swearing that they are the parents of the child in question. At the time that the form is signed and submitted, the Florida Department of Heath puts the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate.
Sixty days later, paternity becomes final in the eyes of the law. During that 60 day period, either parent can cancel the acknowledgment of paternity, but the father’s name can only be removed from the birth certificate through a court order.
ESTABLISHING PATERNITY THROUGH THE COURTS
You have several routes to proving paternity through the courts and government agencies. The first is through the Department of Revenue, where you can petition for genetic testing to determine paternity. If the man tested is determined to be the father, the Department of Revenue submits an Administrative Order of Paternity which then orders the Office of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the birth certificate. This option is good for moms who want to pursue child support orders, but does not help if the father wants other rights relating to parenting.
The other option comes through the Florida family courts. One of four parties can petition for paternity: the mother, the father, the child, or the Department of Revenue (in order to pursue a child support order). Generally, the court will determine paternity either through genetic testing or through evidence heard in a hearing, which may include the man’s relationship with the child, any statements that man has made about the child, and his conduct surrounding the child. The court can make an order of paternity based on that evidence, a default judgment if the man in question is served but does not show up to the hearing, or can accent a consent order, which happens when the mother and father agree on the facts of the case and submit a declaration stating those facts.
CAN I CHALLENGE A PETITION OF PATERNITY IN FLORIDA?
The short answer to this question is yes. If you are the subject of a petition for paternity, but you believe the child is not yours, you can legally defend yourself. The first step, however, is to respond to the legal petition. Obviously, having an experienced paternity lawyer will help you move through this process while protecting your rights.
If you do not respond to the petition, the court will order a default judgement against you, meaning that you will be legally determined to be the child’s father. That means that you could be ordered to pay child support, provide health and life insurance, and be responsible for the legal protection and care of that child.
CAN I CHALLENGE LEGAL PATERNITY ONCE IT’S ORDERED?
Challenging legal paternity is a very difficult case, but it can be done. Florida law has made room for that to happen, but it’s a complicated situation that requires an experienced legal team.