Establishing Paternity to Obtain Child Support
Parents who were never married are often required to go through the process of establishing paternity before a court will award child support. This can be a difficult process, so if you are seeking child support from your child’s other parent and have not yet established his paternity, you should consider retaining an experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity and fathers’ rights attorney who can help you resolve the matter as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Do I Have to Go to Court to Establish Paternity?
It is possible for two parents who were never married to establish paternity voluntarily by filling out and submitting an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. These forms must be signed in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public and then submitted to the Office of Vital Statistics. Unfortunately, not all paternity cases can be resolved in this way, in which case, it may be necessary to initiate court proceedings.
Establishing Paternity Through Court Proceedings
There are two main types of legal proceedings that parents can use to establish paternity in Florida. The first involves filing a petition with the court, which will then order the parties to take a genetic test. If the results indicate that the man is indeed a child’s father, then the court will issue an order of paternity reflecting that relationship. This route is usually used by couples who do not agree that a certain person is a child’s father, or in situations where the father refuses a genetic test.
It is possible, however, for two parents to receive legal confirmation that a person is a child’s father without actually going to court. These proceedings require both parents, as well as their shared children, to submit a genetic sample to the state’s Child Support Program. If the test results prove that a man is the biological father of a child, the Child Support Program will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity and ask the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate. This method is often preferred by couples, as it does not require the parties to go to court. Furthermore, neither parent will need to foot the bill for the genetic tests, and if the test results are positive, the agency will automatically move to request child support.
Whether a couple goes through a court to establish paternity, or requests assistance from Florida’s Child Support Program, the parties will undergo genetic testing, which is more reliable than the alternative form of blood type testing.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
Whether two parents will be required to go to court in order to establish paternity, or can handle the matter themselves in an out-of-court setting, depends on the specific circumstances of the case. To find out which way is best for you and your family, please contact dedicated paternity and fathers’ rights lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today. There is no charge for initial consultations, so if you have questions about establishing paternity for your own child, please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.