How to Establish Paternity in Florida
By: Brusca Law
In Florida, we require the unmarried fathers to establish paternity in our state, if they want to identify themselves as the legal father. Simply placing your name on a birth certificate at the time of birth, does not establish your legal rights. Simply holding yourself out as the child’s father will not do it either—you must establish paternity through a court order or by filling out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form provided by the Florida Department of Health.
When Paternity is Voluntarily Established by the Parents
Parents can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity” form acknowledging the father is the child’s biological and legal father, and swearing under oath the information provided on the form is accurate. The form becomes final 60 days after it has been signed or after the date of a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to the child in which the witness is a party, whichever one happens first.
When Paternity Is Established Through a Court Order
The parties have the option of petitioning the Court at the time of birth of the child or shortly before, by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. Also, under Florida Law, the following persons/agencies can help start the paternity process for you:
· A legal representative on behalf of the child
· The Florida Department of Child Support Services
· The child’s mother or father
Where to Begin?
You may start your paternity case by filing in the circuit court of the county in which the alleged father or mother resides. The Judge in your case may decide to order a DNA test, and determine who will pay for the DNA test. A Judge may also decide other issues related to the paternity case such as:
· Child Support (How much?)
· Health insurance (Who pays?)
· Parental Responsibility (Decision making authority for the child- Who does what?)
· Time-Sharing (Formerly known as visitation)
· Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs (For Mother or Father)
· Name Changes for the Child
Brusca Law Represents Parents Seeking to Establish Their Paternity Rights
If you need help establishing your legal paternity rights, call Brusca Law today. We can help you begin to receive child support payments, time-sharing with your children, and help you and your child establish balance and routine. Brusca Law aggressively represents clients in all paternity actions and helps restore your legal rights as parents. Call us today at 407-501-6564 or fill out the online form, and we will contact you and schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.