Paternity in Florida

Paternity in Florida

Paternity is a legal adjudication that establishes a parental relationship between a man and a child. In Florida, when a child is born to a married couple the husband is presumed to be the child’s biological father. Therefore, most paternity suits are between unmarried parties. Paternity suits are often filed when a man denies fathering a child or a mother disputes a father’s parental relationship with the child. A paternity case may have the same issues as a divorce case because it involves children, and issues such as parental responsibility, child support, and visitation will need to be resolved. Paternity cases can be very complex and difficult without competent legal representation. If you are seeking to either prove or dispute paternity, you should contact an experienced Florida paternity lawyer for legal advice.

Proving Paternity

Paternity may be proved by two different means. A man can voluntarily affirm that he is the father of a child, or paternity can be established through DNA testing administered by a Florida family law court. The DNA test can be either an inclusive or exclusive test. Inclusive DNA tests will show how likely it is that the man is the child’s father. On the other hand, an exclusive test will show how likely it is that a man is not the father’s child. Both types of DNA tests will require DNA samples from the mother, alleged father, and child. A genetic testing lab will then compare all three sets of DNA for similarity and report its findings to the court.

If paternity is proven the father will be entitled to all parental rights, including visitation. On the other hand, the father will also be liable for fulfilling his parental responsibilities, including paying child support. Furthermore, the father will be responsible for any past child support that has not been paid since the child was born. For example, a man who has not provided any financial support and denies fathering a two-year-old child who is later determined by law to be the father will be responsible for the two years of child support that has not been paid. Thus, in some cases, back child support can amount to a substantial amount of money.

Consult With Paternity lawyers in the Tampa Bay Area

Regardless of whether you are disputing fathering a child, a mother seeking to obtain child support, or a father trying to gain visitation rights, we can help. The paternity lawyers at our firm are experienced and skilled in all paternity matters. If you need legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us to speak with a paternity lawyer. We can help explain the law and develop a comprehensive strategy to reach your goals. All of our attorneys are dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Typically, paternity first needs to be established if the mother and father were not married when the child was born. Florida law does not give any preference to mothers or fathers when deciding child custody matters. Instead, the judge’s primary focus will be to find what is in the best interest of the child.

You may not need to take a DNA test to establish paternity under Florida law. If both parents agree on who the father is a DNA test should not be necessary for the paternity case.

Paternity can be established by filing a petition to establish paternity with the court. Additionally, you can add paternity to a child support or custody case. Typically, it is most efficient to have paternity, custody, and support in one case, rather than three separate court cases.

Paying child support does not necessarily also include child custody rights. If the other parent is withholding custody, you may need to file a petition to establish parenting plan. When deciding custody, the judge will review all the details of the case and award custody based on what is in the child’s best interest.