Free Paternity Establishment Information
Early paternity establishment is vital to protecting your rights as a father. This is especially true if you, the father, are not married to the child’s mother and want to share custody. Attorneys with extensive fathers’ rights experience, like Matthew P. Irwin, know that courts look more favorably on fathers who demonstrate an interest in the child’s life early on. In the Florida counties of Lee, Collier and Charlotte, lawyers are better Law Bookable to get a fair visitation schedule for fathers who establish paternity as soon as they are aware that a child is theirs. Fathers who wait until paternity establishment is forced upon them usually end up paying more in child support without a fair share of time with the child.
Paternity Establishment: How it’s Done
In Florida, when a married couple has a baby, the husband is presumed to be the father. Even if the couple weds after conception, as long as they are married at the time of birth, the husband is assumed to be the father. There is no need to establish paternity in this case unless the wife or another man challenges the husband’s paternity.
However, for unmarried couples it is very different. If the couple marries after the child’s birth, the parents can sign a legitimation form. This form gives the father the same rights as if the couple were married prior to the child’s birth.
Even if the couple never marries, paternity can be established voluntarily if the father’s identity is certain. If done at the time of birth or immediately after, the required document can be completed at the hospital and the father’s name will be included on the birth certificate. If done later, the proper paperwork can be completed with the help of an attorney.
Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity simplifies the resolution of time sharing and support issues without a court battle over paternity. However, an unmarried father should have a DNA test done to confirm paternity. There have been many cases in which a man was certain he was the child’s father only to find out later, through DNA testing, that he was not. If a man legally acknowledges his paternity of a child and finds out later he is not the child’s father. If a man legally acknowledges his paternity of a child and finds out later he is not the child’s father, he will still be legally bound to care for and support the child in most cases. In the Florida counties of Lee, Collier and Charlotte, lawyers usually advise paternity clients to get DNA testing prior to acknowledging paternity voluntarily.
If either parent contests paternity of the child, a Petition to Establish Paternity can be filed with the local court. If an unwed mother is receiving public assistance from the state, the state can also file a petition. To resolve a Petition to Establish Paternity, the putative (probable) father will be required to appear in court. The court will most likely order a DNA blood test that compares DNA from the mother, child and putative father. The DNA test is considered to be 99% accurate and admissible as proof of paternity.
Once paternity establishment is complete, the father is responsible for support and care of the child just as the mother is. If the couple is not married, a time sharing plan and child support payments are ordered by the court. Paternity establishment also allows the child other rights, such as the right to inherit property from the father, the right to health insurance coverage by the father’s insurance company, and wrongful death benefits should the father die due to someone else’s negligence. So there are many reasons beyond custody and child support to establish paternity.
Initial Consultation Regarding Paternity Establishment & Child Custody Absolutely Free
If you would like to talk about paternity establishment or issues of divorce or child custody, an attorney’s consultation is available without charge. Mr. Irwin is happy to talk with you and explain what your rights are and how he may be able to help you to protect them. You can arrange for a free consultation regarding paternity establishment with by going on our Free Consults page. Or Call us today toll-free today at 866-995-0166.
More Help in Understanding Your Case:
You can find more information on divorce, custody and support issues on our Free Resources page.
About The Author
Men's Rights Law Firm is a Cape Coral, Florida family law attorney focused on protecting men's rights in divorce and custody cases. His first client was himself, winning custody of his kids in his own divorce case without the help of an attorney. Since then, Mr. Irwin has gone on to help hundreds of men protect their rights in cases involving child custody, child support, paternity, divorce and other family law matters. He also plays an influential role advocating men's rights in Florida legislation, appellate decisions and local government programs. Please visit Mr. Irwin's family law blog to stay updated on family law matters in Florida and throughout the United States.
Republish this article for FREE
If you've found this article interesting or useful, please feel free to republish it on your website or in your e-zine, newsletter or book. You may reprint/republish this article without cost provided you leave all content, the author's byline, the About the Author section and all links completely intact. Thanks for sharing our article.