Five Options for Establishing Paternity
The relationship between a child and a parent is one of the most important in a person’s life. Determining whether this relationship exists, however, can be difficult, especially for fathers. In Florida, there are a few different options for establishing paternity. Which of these options is best for a family depends on the specific circumstances of a case, so if you have questions about how to establish paternity of a child, it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity lawyer who can walk you through your legal options.
If a mother is married when she gives birth to her child, her husband will automatically be presumed to be that child’s legal father. In these cases, neither party is required to do anything to establish paternity, as all the paperwork will be completed by the hospital.
If a child’s parents decide to get married at a later date, the father can ask the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics to add his name to that child’s birth certificate when the couple applies for a marriage license. This will also require that the parties complete an Affirmation of Common Children Born in Florida, or provide a written statement to the court affirming paternity.
If a child’s mother and father are not married at the time of a child’s birth, the father can still establish paternity by filling out a voluntary acknowledgment form. Both parents will need to sign the form in the presence of a notary, which will then be forwarded to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics for official certification. This option is not, however, available to a father when a child’s mother is married to someone else at the time of the birth.
Often, a couple may dispute whether a man is a child’s biological and legal father. In these cases, a parent may need to ask a judge to step in and issue a decision, which he or she will do after hearing relevant evidence, including a DNA test. If two parties agree to legal paternity before their official hearing, they can sign a consent form and avoid any additional litigation. Eventually, the court will issue a formal order listing the name of the child’s legal father.
Voluntary Genetic Testing
If a couple is unsure of a child’s parentage, they won’t necessarily be required to go to court. Instead, they can take a voluntary genetic test provided by Florida’s Child Support Program. If the genetic test reveals that a man is a child’s father, the state will issue an official order of paternity, at which point, the Bureau of Vital Statistics will add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.
Call Today to Set Up an Initial Consultation
To speak with an attorney who is well-versed in paternity matters and similar legal issues, please call dedicated paternity lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. Please call our office at 954-945-7591 or send us an online message to learn more.