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Can I Establish Paternity in Florida with a Birth Certificate?


In Florida, parents have certain rights and obligations in regards to their children. For instance, while parents have a right to visitation with their children, they are also required to financially support them. Establishing these rights and duties isn’t required in all situations, namely when a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth. There are, however, cases where a father will need to establish his paternity of a child in order to obtain legal parental rights. The process of doing so can be complex and depends on the specific circumstances of the situation at hand, including whether the child’s mother is willing to accept paternity. To learn more about establishing paternity in Florida, please call an experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity and fathers’ rights attorney who can evaluate your case.

Establishing Paternity Through Marriage

There are three main ways to establish paternity in Florida. The first is by being married to a child’s mother at the time of the birth, while the second requires a person to go through the court system. If a person doesn’t fall under the first category, he will need to legally establish paternity in court or go through the process of obtaining consent from the child’s mother or father. This is true even if the father of the child is present at the birth or signs the birth certificate soon after. While signing establishes a presumption that a person is a child’s father, it is not sufficient to prove paternity unless the couple is also married.

Establishing Paternity Through the Courts

Even if a father signs a child’s birth certificate, he will still need to file a Petition to Establish Paternity with the court if he and the child’s mother are unmarried. Furthermore, a person cannot file this type of petition until he or she has lived in the state for at least six months. Technically, either a child’s mother or father can file a Petition to Establish Paternity and can also ask the court to assess a host of related issues, including child support, custody, and visitation. In fact, the Florida Department of Revenue can also file a petition (for child support purposes) if paternity has not yet been established and the child’s guardian is requesting government assistance.

Acknowledging Paternity

Florida courts also provide another way to go about establishing paternity that doesn’t require marriage or the filing of a civil suit. This method requires both a child’s mother and father to fill out and sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Once completed, a child’s birth certificate can be changed to add the legal father’s name, unless the child’s mother was married to someone else at the time of the birth.

Get Legal Help Today

Establishing paternity is the first step to protecting a father’s parental rights. If you have questions about your own parental rights, please call experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity & fathers’ rights lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 or send us an online message.





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