Tampa Family Law Attorney Aiding Fathers Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity is more than just declaring you are a child’s father. It is the establishment of your legal and financial obligations; it ensures your visitation rights, the right to have a say in how your child is raised and helping to provide for the health and well-being of your child.
Paternity rights are legally recognized via two ways in Florida:
- Establishment of Paternity (court process)
- The child is born during marriage
This is especially important to understand if you are not married to your child’s mother as signing the birth certificate is merely an acknowledgement you are the father and is only the first step in guaranteeing your paternal rights.
Establishing Paternal Rights And Paternity Of Your Child
If you are married to your child’s mother, your paternal rights are already recognized by Florida courts and should a divorce ever occur between you and the child’s mother, the divorce process will include setting up time-sharing schedules, custody arrangements, and other aspects of child rearing.
If you are not married, paternity rights can be established by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. This petition asks the courts to formally recognize your paternity, either through a DNA test, birth certificate, or formal acknowledgement of paternity before the court. By filing the Petition to Establish Paternity, not only will you have a legal recognition of your parental rights, but you will also be able to address additional concerns for your child including:
- Medical care and cost-sharing
- Parental responsibility for health insurance premiums
- Visitation and time-sharing schedule
- Create and submit a parenting plan
- Decision making capabilities regarding your child (i.e. school choice, religion, etc.)
- Child support payments
Who Can Else Can Establish Paternity?
The child’s mother or guardian may file to establish paternity, commonly required when a request for any form of government assistance has been applied for (i.e. Medicaid, food stamps, etc.). If the child’s mother or guardian also seek child support payments, paternity is also verified during the application process.
Can Paternity Be Disestablished If I Learn The Child Is Not Biologically Mine?
Several factors can determine the possibility of disestablishing paternity. You can review Florida Statute 742.18 in full to determine if disestablishment of paternity is possible in your case or contact our office to determine your best course of action. The Storay Advocacy Group provides free consultations and affordable rates to help the Brandon and surrounding communities.