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Why a Parent May Need to Establish Paternity in Florida


There are many reasons that a parent may want or need to establish paternity in Orlando, Florida. In some situations, a putative father may seek to establish paternity in order to seek parenting time and other child custody rights as a parent under Florida law. In other scenarios, a child’s mother may seek to establish paternity in order to see child support. And there may be other cases, still, in which another party—sometimes even including the child—seeks to establish paternity. When it comes to establishing paternity, Florida law refers to this process as the “determination of parentage.” Accordingly, Florida law on the Determination of Parentage (Fla. Stat. § 742.011 et seq.) governs the process.

Whether you are a parent or another party who has questions about establishing paternity, it is important to discuss your situation with an Orlando family law attorney. If you need help with paternity for purposes of a child custody case or for obtaining child support, one of the family lawyers at our firm can speak with you today. In the meantime, we want to give you additional information about why parents may need to establish paternity and what the process involves.

Why Would a Parent Need to Establish Paternity? 

It may be obvious why there could be a need to establish paternity when the identity of a child’s biological father is in question. At the same time, however, parties also seek to establish paternity even when everyone agrees about the child’s parentage. If you and your child’s other parent agree about paternity, why would a parent need to seek a determination of parentage under Florida law? There are a number of reasons that parents may need to prove the identity of the child’s father, including but not limited to the following:

  • Paternity is in question, and father wants child custody or parenting time;
  • Paternity is in question, and putative father has not provided his child support obligation, and the mother is seeking child support;
  • Parents are breaking up but were never married, and there is a need to establish paternity for child custody and/or child support purposes;
  • Paternity is in question, and the child may have access to certain benefits through the father (such as insurance or Social Security benefits);
  • Paternity is in question, and there is a need to have access to information about the father’s genetic history; and/or
  • Reasons that are personal or symbolic for child legally having a father.

How to Establish Paternity, or Determine Parentage, Under Florida Law 

Under Florida law, paternity must be established in one of two ways: either by default when the child is born and the parents are married, or through the Florida legal system. If parents are not legally married when a child is born, then they will need to establish paternity according to Florida law. The following are methods for establishing paternity, or determining parentage, in Florida:

  • Legitimation, in which the child’s biological mother and biological father legally get married just after the child’s birth (and they amend the child’s birth record);
  • Both parents agree to the paternity and sign an affidavit that acknowledges paternity;
  • One party seeks a court order to establish paternity; or
  • Department of Revenue adjudicates paternity.

Contact a Family Lawyer in Orlando 

Do you have questions about establishing paternity? A skilled Orlando child custody & time sharing lawyer can help. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today.


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