There are certain benefits to marriage for men, especially if they want to have children. Married fathers have the presumption of paternity under Florida law. They don’t need to take any special steps to have their name on their child’s birth certificate or to get shared custody if they separate from the mother.
Unmarried fathers also have legal rights as parents, but they have to establish paternity in order to ask for parenting time and decision-making authority. What are the three primary means of legally establishing paternity for Florida fathers?
Getting your name on the birth certificate
Like married fathers, unmarried fathers can have their names included on the birth certificates of their children. They simply need to fill out paperwork at the hospital with the mother of their child. This is arguably the simplest and most common way for unmarried fathers to establish paternity in Florida.
Cooperating with the mother later
Your ex may not have added your name to the birth certificate right away for any number of reasons. However, you still have the opportunity to do so for as long as your child remains a minor. Provided that the mother agrees, you can fill out a voluntary paternity acknowledgment together that will add you to the birth certificate now.
Going through the family courts if necessary
If the mother of your child will not acknowledge you for some personal reason, then your best option might involve asking the family courts for help. A judge can order genetic testing that can help you prove that you are a father of the child. Then, after adding your name to the birth certificate, you can potentially ask for parenting rights.
Learning more about establishing paternity and seeking custody can help you prioritize your relationship with your children.