In Florida, when a child is born to a mother that is married, the law assumes that child’s father is the mother’s husband. If the mother is unmarried at the time of the child’s birth paternity has to be established. This article explains how to establish paternity and why it’s so beneficial to your child.
How to establish paternity in Florida
Establishing paternity can be beneficial for both you and your child. If the mother and father of the child are not married at the time of the child’s birth, paternity can be established voluntarily or through a court order.
If both the mother and alleged father agree on the paternity, they can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form that acknowledges that the man signing is the father and requires them both to swear under oath that this information is true. After 60 days of signing the form, it cannot be revoked.
If there is no voluntary acknowledgment the mother or father may go to the circuit court to establish paternity. The following people or agencies can start this process:
- the child’s mother
- the man who believes he is the father or who has been identified as the father
- the child through a legal representative
- the Florida Department of Child Support Services
What are the benefits of establishing paternity?
If a mother is left to raise a child on her own, establishing paternity is the first step in getting child support from the child’s father and possibly even health insurance benefits. The child may also be entitled to government benefits if the father is disabled or a veteran or to inherit from the father’s estate.
It is also important for the father to be in the child’s life and establishing paternity will allow the father to get parenting time or shared custody. This will also allow the father to make parenting decisions with the mother such as their child’s healthcare, education, religion and more.
If you’d like to speak to a lawyer about establishing paternity, contact us here.