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Reasons why you may want to establish paternity

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Paternity

Childbirth is cause for celebration, and many fathers look forward to the time they will be able to spend with their new child. When they hold that tiny bundle in their arms, images of watching their child grow flash through the father’s mind.

The man understands that he is the dad, and that’s all that matters at that moment. However, unless he is listed as the legal father, he has no legal rights to his child.

How is paternity established?

Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the biological father. If the mother is unmarried when her child is born, legal paternity must be established. There are several ways this can be done in Florida.

One way is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This is a document that both parents sign, usually at the hospital after the child’s birth.

In some cases, obtaining a court order to establish paternity may be necessary by filing a Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief with the circuit court. The judge may order genetic testing to confirm whether the man is the biological father.

If the biological parents marry after the child’s birth, the husband is legally established as the child’s father.

Establishing paternity is important for the child and the father. While reasons may vary, some of the most common ones include:

  • Securing the legal rights to seek custody or visitation and have a say in the child’s upbringing
  • Providing financial support for the child
  • Contributing to the child’s emotional well-being and development
  • Completing the child’s family health history
  • Allowing the child to have a legal right to inherit from the father’s estate
  • Granting the child access to various benefits such as Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and health and life insurance coverage

Establishing paternity is about more than just confirming a biological relationship. It’s a lifelong commitment to having an active role in a child’s life. Before proceeding, it’s best to discuss your situation with someone who can inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities.