When a child is born to married parents, Florida law recognizes the husband and wife as the legal parents. However, when a child is born to parents who are not married to each other, the law does not automatically recognize the biological father as a legal parent. There are many aspects and approaches to establishing paternity, depending on the situation. If you have questions about the process, call the paternity lawyers in Wesley Chapel, FL of Glenn & Phanco, P.A. We have the legal experience to counsel you and ensure that your interests are protected.
If the mother is unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, paternity must be established, either voluntarily or through a court order.
The mother or the man who believes he is the father may proceed to court to establish paternity. Under Florida law, any of the following persons or agencies can start the court process:
- the child’s mother
- the man who believes he is the father or who has been identified as the alleged father
- the Florida Department of Child Support Services
It is important to understand that even if paternity is established through the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement, it does not mean that any parental responsibility or timesharing has been ordered. Therefore, the parties would still need to file a paternity case in circuit court to address these important issues regarding the children and the rights of each parent.
Married couples do not need to take additional legal steps to establish paternity unless there is extenuating circumstance and paternity is in question or challenged.
When paternity needs to be determined, a paternity case should be initiated in circuit court. The Court then has the authority to order genetic testing to determine paternity, if requested by either party. Speak with Wesley Chapel paternity lawyers from Glenn & Phanco, P.A. for all details about exactly how and when to proceed with a paternity case.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity means more than just having a father named on the child’s birth certificate. There are many benefits for the child, the mother, and the father when paternity is established. The benefits include:
- Asking the court to order child support, health care coverage, timesharing, and decision making authority over the child
- Giving the child the opportunity to have a relationship and involvement with both parents and their extended families
- Parents sharing the costs, responsibilities, and rewards of parenthood
- Connecting the child legally to his/her father
- Protecting the child’s rights to benefits such as medical insurance, life insurance, and inheritance.
- Protecting the child’s rights to government benefits if the father is disabled or a veteran.
Each Paternity Case is Unique
Glenn & Phanco, P.A. is a group of Wesley Chapel, FL paternity lawyers with many years of experience representing both mothers and fathers in paternity cases. We understand not only Florida law, but the sensitivities that go along with reaching a legal resolution. Call us today to schedule your confidential consultation. We will work with diligent expertise and compassion to resolve your case.