How Do I Establish Paternity In Florida?
It is very important to establish the paternity of a child for several reasons. For example, a court cannot require a man who has not been acknowledged as the child’s father to pay child support. Additionally, establishing paternity creates certain rights in the father of the child regarding custody and decision-making. The following article will provide some helpful information regarding how to establish paternity in the state of Florida.
Why does paternity need to be established?
It is important to establish paternity for some of the following reasons:
- Once paternity is established, child support can be awarded
- Once paternity is established, a child can receive health care benefits from the father’s health insurance
- Once paternity is established, a child could be entitled to certain benefits from the father, such as military or disability benefits
- Once paternity is established, the father has a right to custody of and/or visitation with the child
How is paternity established in Florida?
There are four ways to establish paternity in the state of Florida, which are essentially based on the marital status of the parents before or after the child is born. Paternity can be established in any of the following ways:
- Presumption of Paternity: In Florida, if a child is born to two married parents, there is a presumption that the husband is the father of that child. As such, the husband is automatically considered the legal father of the child. If, for whatever reason, the mother fails to list the husband as the father on the birth certificate, the issue of paternity must be addressed in court.
- Acknowledgement of Paternity: If parents are unmarried when the child is born, the father can sign a “Paternity Acknowledgement” form in the hospital in the presence of a notary public. Once the father signs this form, he becomes the legal father of the child. The form is then sent to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to record the birth and the father’s name is added to the birth certificate. It should be noted that the father cannot sign this form if the mother is married to someone else at the time the child is born. Also, this form can be completed at any point until the child turns 18 if the parents remain unmarried.
- Future Marriage: If a mother is unmarried when she gives birth but subsequently marries the child’s father, the husband becomes the child’s legal father. However, this alone does not automatically add the husband to the birth certificate. To add the husband’s name to the birth certificate, the parents would need to submit “The Affirmation of Common Child(ren) Born in Florida” form.
- Court Order: If paternity cannot be established by one of the other aforementioned ways, a parent can file a civil action in circuit court to ask the judge to issue a court order which will determine the paternity of a child. The judge will examine the evidence presented to determine whether an alleged father should be deemed the legal father of the child.
Schedule a Consultation with an Orlando Family Law Attorney
If you need additional information about establishing paternity, please contact Arwani Law Firm. Our experienced Orlando family law attorneys will answer any questions you may have regarding paternity and related issues such as child custody and child support.