Parentage cases, also called "paternity cases," are some of the most confusing to parents, and can be difficult to navigate in court.
In parentage cases, the court makes orders that say who the child's legal parents are. If parents are married when a child is born, there is usually no question about parentage. The law assumes that the married persons are the child's legal parents, so parentage is automatically established in most cases.
But for unmarried parents, parentage of the couple’s children needs to be established legally.
In the state of Florida, men can get their fathers’ rights by filing a paternity action in a Florida court acknowledging paternity of his child, thereby protecting his visitation and custodial rights.
Paternity actions can also be filed by a pregnant woman, an unmarried woman who has a child, a father who believes that he could have fathered a child with a certain woman, or by children who want to determine who their dad is if paternity has never been established.
We understand that navigating paternity can be tricky, therefore, speaking with a a Florida family law lawyer such as Marcus E. Stein is your first step to establishing paternity and obtaining the rights that every parent deserves.
ESTABLISHING PATERNITY IN FLORIDA
Once a paternity action has been filed and the child’s paternity has been established, Florida courts will develop a custody plan as well as calculate any present and retroactive child support that is due for the benefit of the minor child.
Additionally, the court may deem one or both parties liable for payment of attorney fees as well as the cost of the filing if they feel it’s fair to do so.
COMMON PATERNITY MISCONCEPTIONS
The most common misconception regarding paternity where the father is concerned is that by adding his name to the birth certificate automatically and irreversibly makes him the father of the minor child. The presence of a father’s name on a birth certificate does not establish the child’s paternity, but it can be used in a legal paternity action. Legal paternity of the child can be established either through a mutual agreement signed by both parents' or by a court order once a DNA test has performed.
If a man’s name is NOT listed on the birth certificate, a DNA test can be requested through the filing of a paternity action if he believes he is the father of the child.
In this situation, DNA is obtained from the potential father, mother, and child - usually by way of a painless cotton swab of the inner cheek.
The potential father should get representation from a Florida family law attorney such as Marcus E. Stein who will guide him through proper steps to get paternity rights established in Florida.
UNDERSTANDING FATHER'S PATERNITY RIGHTS IN FLORIDA
Having a firm grasp on how the law works is imperative for any man that wants to exercise his father’s paternity rights in Florida. Namely, understanding the difference between a legal father and a biological father.
A legal father is recognized by the court as the person who has the legal rights to the child, even if they are not their biological father. If a married woman gives birth to a child, Florida law states that the husband is the child’s legal father even if it was suspected or known that the woman engaged in extra-marital affairs at the time of conception. In this scenario, the biological father must then file a paternity action to fight for his paternity rights in Florida -- leaving the judge to make a decision based on the child’s best interests.
Each case poses its own unique challenges, and often requires the expertise of a Florida family law attorney such as Marcus E. Stein to help a man get the paternity rights that he deserves.
Once paternity has been established, Marcus E. Stein will work with the client to navigate child custody and time-sharing hearings to maximize the amount of time the father gets to spend with the minor child.
If you have questions pertaining to paternity, contact Marcus E. Stein today for a free case analysis. He will work hard to ensure your parental rights are protected and that you’re granted the opportunity to be a part of your child’s life.