There are many wonderful benefits to establishing the paternity of a child for everyone involved. Not only can it bring a family closer together, but it also provides the child with emotional, financial, and social support. If you have decided to establish the paternity of your child, Florida law provides a number of different ways to legally identify the father.Marriage
The easiest way to establish paternity is through marriage. Under Florida law, if a woman is married at the time of the birth her husband is considered the legal father. Nothing else needs to be done to establish paternity, even if the mother does not list the father on the birth certificate.Acknowledgement of Paternity
If the mother is not married at the time of the birth, the parents can establish paternity at the hospital through the use of an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” form. Also known as the DH-511, the man that signs this form at the hospital is considered the legal father. If you wait until after leaving the hospital to sign the paperwork, the form is called a DH-432. This form can be found at the local Department of Health.Genetic Testing
Paternity can also be established through court ordered or voluntary genetic testing. The mother goes to the court and requests that the judge issue an order that compels genetic testing of the potential father. If the test proves that the man is the biological father of the child, an Administrative Order of Paternity is filed. If the potential father is willing to take the test, then going to the courthouse may not even be necessary.Court Order
A family court judge can also establish paternity through a court order. The mother asks the judge to hear the case for paternity in order to determine if the alleged father should also be the legal father. Based on the evidence, the judge can rule on paternity in a court order but both sides have the opportunity to present evidence regarding the potential paternity. If the alleged father does not show up for the hearing, then the judge can find him in default and make him the legal father without his presence.Legitimization
The final way to establish paternity in Florida is through legitimization. If the mother is not married at the time of the birth but later marries the biological father then the law presumes husband to be the legal father through this process. However, this does not automatically add the father to the child’s birth certificate. This can be done by going to the Clerk of Court who will then send the information to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics.Call Us Today
At Stok Kon + Braverman, we understand the difficulty that can come with establishing the paternity of your child and are here to help. Call or contact us today at our Fort Lauderdale office for a private and free review of your claims.