Paternity refers to establishing a child’s legal father and all the legal responsibilities and rights of fatherhood. There are several reasons in which an individual wants or needs to establish paternity. If you file a paternity action in a Florida Court of Justice the judge decides whether the child should stay with his/her legal or biological father[i]. This is to ensure the child’s financial and emotional well-being. However, paternity has several other benefits for the child that enhances economic and emotional support, care, and security for the long-term.
Ways to Establish Paternity in FloridaIn Florida, the following are the legal ways to establish a child’s paternity[ii][iii]:
- Marriage: If a man is married to a woman when she gives birth to a child, the law considers him the father of that child. So no action is required to establish paternity officially.
- Paternity acknowledgment: If an unmarried couple has a child, they can sign a joint legal agreement to acknowledge that the person signing the document is the child’s father. However, this is not applicable if the child’s mother is married at the time she gives birth.
- Court order: In this case, a court order from the judge is mandatory for the legal establishment of the child’s paternity. The judge may order genetic testing to prove the child’s paternity.
- Administrative order: If the genetic testing proves that person is the biological father of the child, it is possible to issue administrative order to establish legal paternity.
- Legitimating: In Florida, if an unmarried couple has a child and the female gets married, the law considers her husband the child’s legal father as the marriage becomes official. However, the parents need to send their marriage certificate, an ‘Affirmation of Common Born Child in Florida,’ and paternity acknowledgment documents to the Florida Office to add the husband’s name as the legal father in the child’s birth certificate.
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