In the State of Florida, a husband is presumed to be the legal father of any child born to his wife. For an unmarried man, however, paternity has to be established first before he has any legal rights to a child. A Jacksonville paternity attorney at our office can help both fathers and mothers establish paternity and the legal rights and responsibilities associated with being a parent.
There are several ways in which paternity can be established in Florida. These are:
- Acknowledgment of Paternity – Parties can sign a document, usually presented at a hospital when a baby is born, admitting paternity.
- Administrative Order – An order established by a governmental agency after scientific DNA testing.
- Court Order – A judge can order paternity if it is established in a court case.
- Marriage – For married parents, paternity is automatic. If unmarried parents get married after the birth of their child, paternity can be established.
Once paternity is established, just like in a divorce case, parties in a paternity matter will need to create a parenting plan and time sharing provisions (often thought of as custody and visitation arrangements) and calculate child support. It is important to know that it is public policy that every child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents unless it would be detrimental and that both parents are obligated to financially support their child. The law does not favor the mother or the father when determining which parent will have which rights and what a time-sharing schedule between a parent and child will look like or when ordering one person to pay the other child support.
In some cases, a man may be led to believe that he is the father of a child and he may have already agreed to paternity only to find out that he may not, in fact, actually be the child’s father. In other cases a woman may realize she has mistakenly helped establish paternity. If you are looking to terminate the parental rights and responsibilities that have been established, a Jacksonville family law attorney in our office can advise you as to the relevant statutes and case law for your situation.
If you are a parent that needs advice and representation in establishing or disestablishing parental rights and responsibilities, we can help. Contact an experienced Jacksonville paternity lawyer at (904) 406-8636.
We offer a free, initial half hour consultation either by phone or at the office and will discuss with you your options for proceeding, services and costs. To speak with a Jacksonville divorce attorney or family law lawyer, contact us today at (904) 406-8636.