Paternity is fatherhood. It is defined as ‘the state or condition of a father; the relationship of a father’. A child deserves to have a legal father and the benefits and rights that come with established legal paternity. In family law, an experienced, knowledgeable paternity attorney can help the party establish the legal paternity of a child.
There are numerous ways paternity can be established. Florida law sets out specific requirements necessary to establish paternity. They are listed as follows:
- Both parents are married to each other at the time of birth
- The birth certificate is signed at the hospital with father’s signature
- Marriage to child’s mother after the child is born and updating birth record with the Florida Office of Vital Statistics
- Administrative order based on genetic (DNA) testing which proves fatherhood
- A judge can establish paternity by court order
Why is Establishing Paternity Important
Most importantly it establishes fatherhood for a child. Establishing paternity is beneficial for not only the child, but for the mother and father as well. Legal paternity is necessary before a court orders custody, child support, parenting time. A child deserves the benefit of identity which comes with establishing paternity. If paternity is not established, the father can lose all rights relating to his child.
Identity– Paternity gives the child identity, that they are part of a family. A bond can be formed between father and child. A relationship with father and child can help give support and comfort and safety. Fathers who actively participate in their child’s life can help with their socio-emotional development.
Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation– If parents are not living together or are contesting custody, paternity needs to be legally established for a court to order custody and visitation rights.
Financial– Established paternity helps to ensure a child receives financial support from their father. A court needs to establish paternity in order for the child to receive child support from the father. It also gives the child other financial benefits of social security, life insurance, pensions, retirement and inheritances. Without established paternity, the child has no access to these benefits.
Medical- Medical information is vitally important for the child. Paternity helps give medical background of the father regarding disease and any genetic traits of the family lineage that may affect the child’s health. A child may also be added to the father’s medical insurance policy with established paternity.
Access to Information Concerning the Child– A legal father will have access to information related to school, medical records, any juvenile court proceedings, criminal proceedings that may involve the child.
Conclusion- Establishing Paternity in the State of Florida
At Hunter Law, we are committed to helping you with your paternity concerns and legal issues. Establishing paternity in the state of Florida can be a complex and emotional undertaking without some legal counsel.
Whether for the mother or the father or both parents, seeking legal paternity is foremost for the child. Whatever your legal issue may be, it is advisable to contact an experienced paternity lawyer for consultation. We can advise you of the different options available and what may work best for your unique circumstances. We are here for you.
If you’re having a family law issue related to Paternity, please contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.