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Establishing Paternity in Florida

Posted on June 9, 2015

Paternity establishes the legal father of a child, and it bestows a number of positive legal rights and benefits to all parties involved. Every child deserves the right to have a legal father. It is important to note that paternity does not require that the minor be the biological child of the man identified as the father in a paternity case. In Florida, there are many different aspects to paternity and all that it entails.

Does Paternity Exist?

In Florida, if the mother is married at the time that a child is born, her husband is automatically presumed as the legal father of her child, regardless of whether the child is biologically his. If the mother is not married at the time that the child is born, then the child does not have a legal father. This situation is where establishing paternity becomes important to the family.

Rights and Benefits of Paternity

Identifying someone as the legal father of a child provides legal rights and benefits to the child, father, and mother. Some of the rights and privileges of the child in the situation can include creating an emotional tie with the father, having the love and support of two parents, health and life insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, military or veteran’s benefits, a full medical history from both parents, financial support, and inheritance.

For the parents, establishing paternity can also provide them with benefits and privileges that did not exist before a legal father was named. These benefits include developing a bond with the child, giving them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, passing along family history and culture, adding the father’s name to the child’s birth record, obtaining child support for the child’s care, getting a court order for visitation or custody of the child, and having a say in the legal decisions regarding the child’s welfare.

Establishing Paternity in Florida

The Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Program helps identify and establish paternity for fatherless children across the state. The department can help a mother and child establish paternity even if the parents are under the age of 18 years old, are in school or do not work, or live in different states.

The length of time it takes to establish paternity depends on the method in which a mother obtains the paternity results. Paternity can be established through marriage, an acknowledgment of paternity, an administrative order based on genetic testing, a court order, or legitimization. Marriage or acknowledgment can establish paternity immediately. An administrative order can take three months or longer, and a judicial order can take half a year or more to finalize.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney

If you or someone that you know has questions regarding paternity in the Fort Lauderdale area, let the experienced family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman advocate on your behalf. Reach out to us today to discuss your case during an initial consultation.

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