Paternity actions can be complex. The state of Florida takes no presumption that a mother is the mother or a father is the father as far as custody is concerned. To this end, it is important that both parents are aware of and understand their rights and responsibilities as they relate to the child involved. Every child deserves the right to have a father, and every father deserves the right to spend time with his child. Contact our Fort Lauderdale paternity attorneys for more information and assistance today.
At Stok Kon + Braverman our Fort Lauderdale paternity attorneys understand the importance of establishing paternity. The benefits of paternity establishment are numerous, including information about family medical history, insurance from both parents and inheritance entitlement. We strongly believe that both parents should be able to exercise their parental rights. With more than 30 years of experience, we represent both mothers and fathers in Fort Lauderdale paternity actions.Establishing Your Parental Rights
There are many ways in which paternity is established under Florida law, including:Marriage
This applies when the couple is married prior to the birth of the child. Florida law presumes that a child born into a marriage is the biological offspring of the mother and the father. This is true even if the male is actually not the biological parent. For example, if Mary becomes pregnant by John and then marries Robert, Robert will be the presumptive father of the child upon birth. The hospital staff will automatically place Robert’s name on the birth certificate.Legitimization Through Marriage
If a child is born with no paternity designation, a couple can legitimize the child at a later date through marriage. The parties must also update the child’s birth record through the Department of Vital Statistics.Acknowledgment of Paternity Form
An unmarried couple can also establish paternity by voluntarily signing an acknowledgment form at the birth of the child, or at any point after the child is born. This applies when both parents agree about the paternity of the child. By signing the form, both parents are naming the biological father under oath. Both parents have 60 days to revoke their agreement. Once the 60 days passes, a party cannot set aside the acknowledgement.Administrative Court Order
A paternity determination is made based on genetic testing to determine paternity. These tests are ordered through a Florida agency. Each party submits swabs from their inside cheek for testing. All samples are sent to an independent lab for paternity testing. If paternity is established, the Department of Vital Statistics is notified and the birth certificate is updated. An administrative order is sufficient for establishing child support, but not custody.Court Order
A judge issues an order of paternity. This tactic is typically used when the individuals do not agree on paternity. Commencement of the court case can begin with the biological mother, the alleged father, a legal representative for the child or the Florida Department of Revenue. When brought by the Department of Revenue, the case is only commenced for the purpose of establishing child support. Once a case is commenced, the non-filing party is summoned to appear at a court date to answer the paternity allegations. At the court apperance, parties present testimony and evidence about paternity of the child to the court. If the non-filing party is the alleged father and he fails to appear at court, the court can enter a default judgment of paternity against him. If the parties come to an agreement prior to court, they can provide the court with a consent order, which is generally followed.
Once paternity has been established, there are many rights and benefits that both parents and children can enjoy. Parents may be able to obtain the financial support their child needs, and previously absent parents may secure the right to visitation and parenting time. While a child support order may automatically go into effect with a paternity determination, you must request custody and visitation through the court. Most importantly, children will be able to grow up with meaningful relationships with both parents.Fort Lauderdale Paternity & Father’s Rights Attorney
For unwed fathers, genetic testing has become the quickest and most efficient way to establish paternity. A DNA test can be requested by a mother, father, child or the court. Whether you are a mother or father, neglecting to take action can result in loss of the rights both you and your child deserve.
At Stok Kon + Braverman our Fort Lauderdale paternity attorneys firmly believe in protecting the rights of both parents. Once we have helped you establish paternity, we will file the appropriate motions and pleadings to ensure that your rights to parenting time, time sharing and child support are exercised. We are dedicated to you and your paternity needs. To speak with one of our Fort Lauderdale paternity attorneys about how to safeguard the rights of you and your child, call us at 954-237-1777, 561-736-7117, or contact us online.