Florida Paternity Attorneys
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Unfortunately, the increasingly common occurrence of children born out of wedlock requires the establishment of paternity to legally ensure full parental rights and responsibilities. Upon the termination of some unmarried relationships, the legal rights of a parent are disputed. In order to secure parental rights under these circumstances, a paternity action is required.
Florida courts may establish or acknowledge legal paternity. Acknowledging biological paternity on a child’s birth record is not sufficient to raise your rights as a parent. DNA tests alone do not set the legal establishment of rights and responsibilities. Legal parentage and biological parentage are not synonymous.
Due to the differences between biological and legal parentage, it is crucial to receive legal advice from a seasoned team of attorneys committed to achieving the goals of your paternity and child custody case.
Presumed Paternity in Florida
According to Florida statute, the presumption or acknowledgement of paternity occurs when:
- The child is born to parents who are married at the time of birth.
- The father lists himself on the child’s birth record and marries the mother subsequent to their child’s birth.
- The father listed himself on the birth record and signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
Let The Virga Law Firm evaluate your parental rights. For biological fathers that have not filed for legal paternity, time is critical. If another person takes action in seeking paternity before you, you may lose the legal right to your child. Do not risk losing legal rights to your biological child. For questions concerning paternity establishment in Florida, call our law office to schedule a consultation with one of our Florida paternity lawyers today.
Do Unmarried Fathers Have Rights?
As an unmarried father, there are certainly some things that you will need to know to protect your rights and relationship with your children. Your first step will be to establish paternity.
In a married family, it is the assumption that the husband is the father of the household. When a baby is born outside of a married family situation, the father has no legal standing. Therefore, you will need to establish paternity to have a legal standing in regards to:
- Child visitation
- Making decisions about the welfare of the child
Establishing paternity puts the name of the unwed father on the child's birth certificate. This can be accomplished by being with the mother at the hospital during the birth of the baby and helping her fill out the birth certificate and all other applicable forms. If this is not an option, then the unwed father can fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.
Involuntary Paternity Determination Under Florida Law
Paternity can be established outside the wishes of a party. This is called involuntary paternity determination. In some cases, the state may file action through the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Unit. Additionally, the child’s mother may file to establish the biological father as the child’s legal father for the purpose of child support obligations.
When an involuntary paternity determination is filed, the subject party must appear in court and face a family law judge or magistrate. If the party is unwilling to assume paternity, a DNA test may be ordered. Should the party’s test show them to be the child’s biological parent, the court may award child support payments.
It’s important to remember that the involuntary determination of paternity may not entitle you to time-sharing and parental responsibility. Our paternity attorneys in Florida are well experienced in these matters. We can fight to establish your parental rights during the involuntary paternity suit against you. Let us advocate on your behalf for your time-sharing rights. At The Virga Law Firm, we have thorough experience in both types of Florida paternity cases.
For questions related to paternity and child support, call to schedule a consultation with our dedicated legal professionals at (800) 822-5170.
Gerard Virga Founding Attorney
David Lohr Executive Director/Attorney
Chad Self Fort Walton Beach Managing Attorney
William West Ritchie Panama City Managing Attorney
Taylor Tippel Panama City Beach Managing Attorney
Andrea Ansley Attorney
Christopher Melendez Attorney
April Hand Operations Manager and Florida Registered Paralegal
Danny Durnbaugh Chief Financial Officer
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