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Why Is it Important to Establish Paternity?

The Benefits of Determining Paternity for a Father

Paternity is fatherhood. In fact, when you establish paternity you are actually identifying a child’s legal father. Paternity gives you the legal right to child custody and timesharing. What you may not know though is that establishing paternity also grants the child and the other parent certain benefits as well. Today, we will review all the benefits that come with establishing paternity.

If a man has not legally been established as the father of a child, he is not expected to pay child support, however; he also cannot seek custody or visitation rights. Therefore, if you are the biological father of a child and wish to share custody of your child or spend time with him/her, you will need to establish paternity.

Establishing Paternity: The Child’s Benefits

A child deserves to know their legal father. Other than that benefit, there are additional ones including but not limited to the following:

  • Family medical history information
  • Health or life insurance from either parent (if available)
  • Social Security benefits, military allowances, and/or veteran’s benefits
  • Inheritances

Establishing Paternity: The Other Parent’s Benefits

Under Florida law, both parents are legally responsible for financially supporting their child. However, if you are not married to the child’s father and paternity has not been established, it would be very difficult to seek child support. The benefits for the other parent to seek paternity consist of but are not limited to the following:

  • Being able to seek financial support from the father
  • Having access to family medical records
  • Having both parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate
  • Providing your child with the ability to inherit from their father

How Do You Establish Paternity?

Unless married, there are additional ways to establish paternity in Florida, which consist of but are not limited to the following:

Acknowledgement of paternity

To accomplish this, an unmarried couple needs to sign a legal document after the child’s birth stating that they both acknowledge that the male party is the father. This is typically completed at the hospital after the child is born.

Court order

Whenever paternity is disputed, it is necessary to involve the court. A judge will listen to both the mother and the alleged father and decide whether to establish paternity. Genetic testing may be required to prove parentage.

Administrative order based on genetic testing

A DNA or genetic test can be used to determine parentage as well. If a test comes back positive, an administrative order can then be issued to legally establish paternity.

Who Can File for a Paternity Action?

A paternity action can be filed in the event:

  • A man believes he is a child’s legal father
  • A woman who is pregnant or given birth and seeking parentage
  • A child who would like to determine paternity if not yet established

Is There an Age Limit to Determine Paternity?

In Florida, the age limit to determine paternity is 4 years after the child reaches the age of majority or 18 years old. It is recommended to establish paternity as soon as possible as it is in the child’s best interests to develop a relationship with both parents.

Consult with an Experienced Attorney at Our Firm

Establishing paternity can be a complicated and sensitive matter – especially if doing so might cause a rift in a marriage. Regardless, you have a right to protect your paternal rights. If you require the counsel of an experienced fathers’ rights lawyer, do not hesitate to contact us today.

If you need assistance with your paternity case, contact our office online or give us a call at (352) 310-8169. We are committed to protecting your paternal rights.