When a married couple has a child in Florida, the husband is presumed to be the biological or natural father of the child. The child is born with certain rights, such as entitlement to the financial support of the father while the child is a minor and the possibility to be included in the father’s estate upon your death.
A child who is born to a mother who is not married, or born “out of wedlock,” is entitled to the same rights as a child of married parents and paternity proceedings are intended to protect these rights after the child’s natural father has been identified.
The Florida Statutes set forth several ways in which the paternity of a child born out of wedlock may be established. They are:
A paternity action initiated by the child’s mother
The father’s marriage to the mother
A judgment of paternity from another state
The father’s voluntary acknowledgment of paternity
A paternity action initiated by any man who believes that he is the child’s father
A paternity action initiated by the child
When a paternity action has commenced, and if the man presumed to be the father (“putative father”) has not voluntarily acknowledged paternity, the Court will usually order a blood test to be performed. This blood test tests the child’s DNA to determine if it matches the putative father.
At the time paternity is established, the court can order the parents to pay child support for the child. At this time, the court may also make a determination of an appropriate parenting plan, including time-sharing, between the parents and the minor child. It is very important you speak with a lawyer to protect your rights as a parent in an action for paternity. Unless a court order is entered granting a father time sharing the father may have difficulty in asserting any right he may have to obtain time sharing.
If a judgment of paternity contains only a child support award with no parenting plan or time-sharing schedule, the parent who receives child support shall also receive all of the time-sharing and sole parental responsibility. If a paternity judgment contains no child support provisions, the mother is presumed to have all of the time-sharing and sole parental responsibility.
It is important to keep in mind how to protect your rights as a parent when a child of yours is born out of wedlock. A family law attorney at The Law Offices of Knellinger & Associates can help you understand the process of establishing paternity, parental responsibility, time-sharing, child support, and other related issues.
The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.
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