Why Paternity Matters
Nothing is more fundamental to a parent than the right to raise your own kids. However, until your paternity (fatherhood) is established under Florida law, no such right exists. Many people erroneously believe fatherhood is all about child support. However, there are a number of important reasons why establishing paternity in Florida is a benefit to both parents and the child.
Before we dig into some of the details, here’s a quick list of important facts to know about paternity in Florida:
✔️ When a married mother gives birth to a child in Florida, her husband is automatically presumed to be the legal father.
✔️ When children are born outside of marriage, the law is more complicated, and fatherhood will not be assumed.
✔️ Mothers and legal fathers have equal parental rights under Florida law.
✔️ Paternity establishes a father’s right to participate in his child’s upbringing.
✔️ When unmarried parents agree on who the father is, paternity is established with a voluntary acknowledgment.
✔️ The establishment of fatherhood also impacts the child’s rights. Once paternity is established, The Florida Dept of Revenue lists the following benefits become available to the child:
- Information on family medical history
- The child will know the identity of their father
- The father’s name is on the birth certificate
- Health or life insurance from either parent, if available
- Support from both parents, like child support and medical support
- Get Social Security or veteran’s benefits, military allowances and inheritances
Without legally established paternity, the child can’t receive any of the above benefits.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity can be signed at the time of the child’s birth if both parents agree and the father is present to sign the birth certificate. If the parents do not agree, or the father isn’t present at the time of birth, the document can be signed anytime from the birth of the child through their 18th birthday.
If you’re planning a voluntary acknowledgment, be aware that either parent can change their mind and revoke their signature for the next 60 days. After 60 days, if neither parent has changed their mind, the document is final and the man signing the acknowledgment becomes the legal father, with all of the rights and responsibilities that entails.
Establishing Paternity in Florida Court
To begin a paternity case in a Florida court, the party who wishes to establish fatherhood must go to the circuit court in the county where they reside. The court will order genetic testing for the child, the mother, and the alleged father, and will make its determination based on DNA test results.
It’s important to know that The Department of Child Support Services can use test results to determine child support.
Fathers Have Rights
The establishment of paternity in Florida is important for both the parents and the child. Fathers have a right to spend quality time with their children, have input on raising their children, and make important decisions about their children. Neither parent inherently has more rights than the other to the child; under Florida law, mothers and fathers have equal parental rights.
Brodie Friedman stands ready to establish and enforce your rights as a father in the Florida Courts.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100