Orlando Paternity Lawyer
In Florida, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother at the time of conception. The father of a child born outside of wedlock, however, does not have the same automatic parental rights and obligations to the child.
A paternity action may be initiated by a mother or the father. It can also be brought by the child, the child’s guardian or the state if the mother is on public assistance.
Our Orlando Paternity Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights And Your Child’s Rights
At Anderson & Ferrin, Attorneys at Law, P.A., our Orlando paternity lawyers help fathers and mothers establish paternity, as well as represent clients in the disestablishment of paternity.
Paternity for children born out of wedlock is often established through DNA sampling. However, when two unmarried parents are certain of the father’s identity, they may file a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity that establishes both parents’ rights and obligations.
Another important reason to establish paternity is to provide a child the legal right to the father’s death benefits, including Social Security or veterans benefits, as well as any inheritance. It also provides the child access to important medical information in the event any genetic medical issues may have been passed on from the birth father.
Paternity Affects Child Custody and Child Support
Paternity is an important issue for mothers, fathers and children. By establishing that he is the child’s legal parent, the father can seek joint custody, including timesharing and having a role in parenting decisions. Florida child custody law requires that all decisions regarding parental responsibility, including parenting plans and timesharing schedules, be made with he bet interests of the child as the primary consideration. Florida family court judges look at 20 different factors to decide what role each parent will play in the child’s life. For a father whose paternity has not been established, proving that parentage is the first step toward asserting rights to parenting and timesharing. A biological father may be able to assert other parental rights, as well, such as intervening to prevent an adoption initiated by the mother.
Likewise, a mother or child who wants to enforce an obligation to pay child support may first be required to have the father’s paternity legally established. Even if not involved in a child’s life, a biological father may still be required to provide financial support until the child is no longer a minor, but only once paternity has been proven. Putative fathers may dispute the claim that they are the father, requiring litigation in court and DNA testing or other evidence of paternity.
Knowledgeable and Effective Representation in Orlando Paternity Matters
If you need more information about paternity and the legal rights and obligations that paternity provides, contact our experienced attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Whether you are a mother seeking financial support or a father seeking more time with your child, we can help.
We will review the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take.