Paternity Information

Central Florida Paternity Action Attorneys

Child support and child custody issues can arise whether or not the parents are married.  In Florida, all children have a right to be supported by both parents.  Unmarried fathers, just like unmarried mothers, have the right to have contact with their children. We represent both fathers and mothers in paternity actions.

Establishing paternity

Florida Statute Chapter 742 governs the issues related to paternity.  In Florida, the first step to obtain an order of child support or time sharing with children when the parents are unmarried is to file an action to establish paternity.  If the parents do not agree who the father is, paternity may be established through scientific (i.e. DNA) testing as specified under Florida Statute Section 742.12.  If the paternity of a child is not in dispute, parties can stipulate to that issue, without the need of scientific testing. Under Florida Statute Section 742.18, under certain circumstances, one who has been adjudicated as a “father”, but who is not the biological father may disestablish paternity to terminate an obligation to pay child support, for a child who is not his biological child.

Child support for unmarried parents

Once paternity is established, the Court may order payment of child support, as well as retroactive child support (up to 24 months prior to the date of filing the Petition for Paternity).  Child support payments are calculated using a statutory formula, under Florida Statute Section 61.30, that considers the net income of both parents, the number of children, expense for daycare, and expense for health insurance for the minor children.  Child support is typically ordered until the minor child reaches the age of majority or graduates from high school, provided he/she will graduate prior to reaching 19 years of age. For more information regarding child support see our Child Support web pages.

Time sharing for unmarried fathers

Many unmarried fathers find themselves in the position where the mother arbitrarily denies them contact and/or access to their children.  Through a court-ordered parenting plan, the father can have contact according to a time-sharing schedule that allows him to maintain a relationship with the child.  If either parent fails to adhere to the parenting plan and/or time sharing schedule established by the Court, that parent may be at risk of being found in contempt of court. For more information regarding time-sharing see our Parental Responsibility web pages.