First Step in a Paternity Action

A parent helps their small child walk on the beach

When your child is born, one of the last things on your mind is to establish your legal rights to your own child. However, if you are unmarried it is critical to ensure your legal rights to your child are properly established and in place as soon as possible. Therefore, contact an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney to discuss your paternity rights and the steps to assert them in a court of law.

The first step to a paternity action is to determine if you need to establish your paternity in regards to a child or if it has automatically been established. There are only two methods for paternity to be established outside of court, being legally married to the mother of the child or agreement and acknowledgement of paternity. There is a large myth in the area of father’s rights, regarding automatic paternity rights. This being that signing a father’s name to a child’s birth certificate provides them with automatic legal rights to the child. However, this is untrue. A name on the birth certificate does not provide legal rights, however, it can be used in a paternity action to provide evidence to the court of the intention of the parties.

If you are not married to the mother of the child, you should likely proceed with filing a paternity action or if already agreed through an acknowledgement of paternity, with a child custody action providing for timesharing and child support. When filing a paternity action, you will be referred to as the alleged father until paternity is established. The court will order paternity to be established upon being presented with scientifically sound genetic testing or evidence such as testimony from the parties. However, in most cases, genetic testing will be ordered upon filing a paternity motion. The costs for these tests will likely be on the party moving to establish paternity, however, it can be shared between the parties. Therefore, you should be prepared after filing your initial petition, to submit to a DNA test and pay the necessary costs associated. However, after these results are returned, the court will have conclusive evidence to establish the paternity of a father to a child. Therefore, a paternity action can be quite simple. Not much evidence will need to be presented other than DNA testing; however, issues can arise if parties refuse to comply with testing. Therefore, it is important to have representation in these matters to ensure you will be able to present a solid case before the court if necessary.

Although you and your child may have an emotional bond, it is important to have the legal attachment as well to have the relationship recognized by all other parties. Therefore, know your rights and gain understanding of the steps in establishing your paternity rights to your child by consulting with an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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