Fathers' Rights

It is important to note that unless a child is born in a marriage, or a father has completed very specific tasks, a father may not understand that his rights are not established until a Paternity case is filed and the court orders and establishes him as the legal father. The most common misconception is that by being listed on a child's birth certificate, you are automatically established as the father, unfortunately this is not true.

Oftentimes fathers will come to our offices seeking assistance with timesharing and custody issues yet never know that their rights are very limited unless they file a paternity case. It is important to note that if you are served with a paternity or child support case and you fail to respond you can be established as the legal father although you may not be the biological father. This can also lead to you having to pay child support for a child that is not your biological child.

In Florida there are five ways to establish paternity:

1. Acknowledgement of paternity

Both parents sign a sworn statement declaring that the individual is the father of the child. This document can be signed at the time of child's birth or later. Unfortunately, when parties are not married this has often not been signed, and the father is never declared as the legal father.

2. Marriage

The parents are married when child is born.

3. Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing

If the genetic test proves fatherhood, Paternity is ordered. This at often times, takes place in child support cases where a paternity action has not been filed yet.

4. Fathers Rights Court Order

This is when a court must determine who the actual and legal father is. This usually takes place in child support and paternity cases. DNA testing can be required if a party denies paternity in these cases. It is important to note that if you are served with a child support or paternity case and you fail to respond you could be declared the legal parent of a child regardless of whether you are or are not the biological parent.

5. Legitimation

The mother and child's biological father get married after child is born and update the records through the Florida office of Vital Statistics.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

  • Paternity helps establish the rights of the father such as custody and parenting time.
  • Child has the right to child support. Child support cannot be ordered until paternity is established.
  • In case of father's death the child can inherit from the father. The child can also get benefits such as social security.
  • If you are served with a paternity action or child support case and you fail to respond, you may still be established as the legal father of a child without you being present. This can lead to individuals being declared fathers of children that are not biologically theirs and often times being ordered to pay child support.

At Anderson and Ferrin, we have handled numerous paternity and child custody cases and we will guide you every step of the way. Hire a law firm you can count on to fight and protect your family's rights.

Know Your Fathers Rights.
Call Orlando Fathers Rights Lawyers at 407-965-2319.