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Paternity

Florida law assumes that when a child is born to a married woman, the husband is the father. However, if she is unmarried when the child is born, paternity has to be established in order for the father to obtain legal rights to his child. Establishing paternity is important for all parties involved. It can help single mothers raise their child by way of receiving child support. It can help a minor child, as the father might be able to provide health insurance benefits and other support to their child. It can help grant the father the right to participate in the child’s life and make important decisions.

After the child is born, paternity can be established voluntarily or with a court order.

Paternity

How is Paternity Established in Florida?

There are different ways to establish paternity in Florida:

  • Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity – A form signed by both parents acknowledging the biological father’s identity.
  • Genetic Testing – If the alleged father refuses to sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity and there is a dispute about the father’s identity, genetic testing can be ordered by the court.
  • Court Order – If there is a paternity dispute, the court can order DNA testing or make a ruling based on the evidence presented in court.

What Are the Legal Implications of Establishing Paternity?

Establishing paternity has several legal implications, including:

  • Child Support – Once paternity is established, the father can be ordered to pay child support including contributing to the child’s out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Timesharing and Parental Responsibility – Once paternity is established, the father can pursue timesharing and parental responsibility rights, meaning he can make important decisions regarding the child’s life and have the ability to spend time with the child.
  • Inheritance and Benefits – Once paternity is established, the child can receive benefits such as inheritance, Social Security, and military benefits.

2023 Changes to Florida Paternity Laws

In 2023, Florida made notable changes to paternity laws, establishing the “Good Dad” bill.

This legislation have expanded the presumption of paternity, allowing men who establish themselves as the child’s father through clear and convincing evidence to be recognized as such, even if they are not married to the mother.

The bill impacts the fathers rights, but it also has a major impact unmarried mothers. There are 3 major changes unmarried mothers should know in paternity cases in Florida:

  1. Expanded presumption of paternity
  2. More decision making for all issues involving the child
  3. Increased Parenting rights for the biological unwed father
These changes to Florida paternity laws are crucial for both the mother and father to be informed of and can potentially influence custody and support proceedings.
Paternity

Ostrovsky Law is dedicated to providing compassionate and personalized legal representation to clients in paternity cases. Danielle Ostrovsky understands the sensitive nature of these cases and strives to protect the rights and interests of her clients and their children.

With years of experience in paternity cases, Danielle is well-equipped to handle all aspects of the legal process, from initial filings to final judgments. Danielle works closely with her clients to understand their unique situations and tailor her legal strategies to meet their specific needs.

If you need assistance with a paternity case, contact Ostrovsky Law today to schedule a consultation so that you can discuss your case with Danielle and she can answer any questions you may have.

Paternity FAQs

If the parents of a child do not agree regarding the paternity of a child and do not sign a voluntary acknowledgement, establishing paternity requires the filing of a court case. The case can be filed by the mother of the child, the alleged father, the Florida Department of Revenue or a legal representative acting on behalf of the child.

Yes, paternity can be challenged in Florida. Either parent can file a legal action to challenge paternity within a certain timeframe and present evidence to dispute the established paternity.

In Florida, a man is automatically considered the legal father of any children born to his wife while they are married. If you aren’t married and you have a child, however, there is a good chance that you won’t be identified as the legal father unless you take steps to ensure you are. You can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity if you and the child’s mother agree that you are the father. If not, you can file a Paternity action to establish paternity.

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