Establishing paternity is very important for unwed couples and children. From child support and social security benefits to proper child development and family health, paternity establishment in Florida is necessary. Experienced paternity lawyers at the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates are well-versed on the complex paternity laws in Florida and would be happy to assist your family during this significant time.
Everything to Know About Establishing Paternity in Florida
Paternity laws in Florida can seem daunting, but with the assistance of a qualified paternity lawyer in Florida, it does not have to be. We will help you understand the steps that need to be undertaken and considered in efforts to establish paternity, disestablish paternity, and/or gain general paternity advantages for your child.
How to Establish Paternity
The easiest way to establish paternity in the state of Florida is for the father to place his name on the child’s birth certificate (if he is present during the birth). If the father is unable to sign the birth certificate, he also has the option of signing a paternal statement. This form is widely accessible and available on court websites. A final option for unmarried couples is an informal document that includes basic information (i.e. date of birth, gender, name etc.) about the parents and the child. This form should be signed in the presence of an authorized notary, and filed with the appropriate court.
A man that has not established official paternity over a child, but still declares the child as biologically his, is considered the putative father in a court of law. In order to successfully establish paternity, putative fathers often need the full support and/or cooperation of the father. In the event that a mother is unwilling to acknowledge the father, he has the option of filing a petition to establish paternity. The mother will then receive the notice and a response will be demanded of her. If she continues to avoid acknowledgement of the father, further court proceedings, such as DNA testing, will likely occur.
For further assistance with establishing paternity, contact our experienced paternity attorneys.
Paternity & Child Support
Paternity and child support go hand in hand. Since the two processes of paternity establishment and child support are interdependent, is difficult to gain one without the presence of the other.
When two unmarried people have a child and separate, it is important to pursue a paternity action in order to get a court ordered time-sharing arrangement for the child. Sometimes, the Department of Revenue will seek to establish a court order for child support. However, the Department of Revenue court cases will not address the time-sharing arrangement (or other parenting plan) for the child. As such, the payor for purposes of child support may end up with a court ordered obligation to pay child support without a court ordered right to have time-sharing with the child.
When one party decides to pursue a paternity action, the issue of paternity may be disputed or the parties may already agree concerning the identity of the father. When the issue is in dispute, the court may order DNA testing to confirm the biological father’s ties to the child(ren).
After paternity is established, the court will also determine the time-sharing arrangement for the child and the issue of child support as well as other issues that pertain to the particular child or family. More and more frequently judges are ordering an equal time-sharing arrangement or at least substantial time-sharing to both parties. If you do not believe that an equal time-sharing arrangement would be best for your child, it is even more important to contact an experienced family law attorney for guidance.
The court will also decide the issue of child support. Child support may be ordered retroactively for up to two years before the petition is filed. As such, the payor of child support may have a substantial child support arrearage if he/she has not been paying child support. However, the payor would also have the right to credit toward the arrearage for any payments made and may be able to get credit for payments made in-kind for the benefit of the child.
In many cases, fathers unknowingly take care of children who are not biologically related to them. This sort of information is often revealed later during the child’s life, resulting in a ton of difficult emotions and feelings. Courts are able to reverse the paternity establishment, by disestablishing paternity. This process allows the father to be permanently removed from all files and documents that identify him as the legal and/or biological father of the child.
Disestablishing paternity can be an emotionally draining experience. There are tons of paperwork and documents to be submitted. For assistance with the overall process, you should rely on an experienced paternity lawyer.
Contact a Paternity Lawyer in Gainesville, FL
If you have a paternity action that you would like to discuss, contact experienced paternity lawyers at the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve Gainesville, FL, and the surrounding areas. We would be honored to help your family.