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Establishing Paternity in Florida


Establishing paternity refers to the determination of a man’s legal rights and obligations to a child. This process can be beneficial to every person in that child’s life, including the father. In Florida, there are two methods for establishing paternity: a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and court ordered genetic testing. If you would like to establish paternity for a child in the Tampa Bay area, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule an initial consultation of your family law case.

Some Paternity is Presumed

It is important to note that paternity does not always have to be established for a child. In cases where a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child unless genetic testing proves otherwise. Nothing needs to be done in terms of establishing paternity in these cases. However, if a couple is unwed or a single mother gives birth then some method of establishing paternity must be used in order to create the rights and obligations of a legal father.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If both parents agree on the paternity of the child, then they can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form after the child’s birth. This document can usually be signed at the hospital or immediately afterwards by both parents. After the form is sent into the state’s record office, it becomes official after sixty days. After the sixty day window, neither parent can revoke the document unless they can prove fraud or coercion in signing the form. It is important to note that both parents must be willing to sign this form in order to establish paternity in this way.

Court Ordered Genetic Testing

If one person does not agree to the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, the other method of establishing paternity is through the use of court-ordered genetic testing. This method involves a pain-free swab of the cheek for the alleged father and the child, which is then sent to a state laboratory for testing. If the results show that the man is the father, paternity is established by the courts. This method is best if the mother is unsure of the paternity of their child or if one parent is refusing to move forward with establishing paternity for the child.

Why You Should Establish Paternity

There are many benefits to establishing paternity in Florida. The child benefits by getting the opportunity to know their father, access medical history, and learn the family history of both sides of their family. The child may also gain access to medical insurance, life insurance, Social Security benefits, inheritance rights, and veterans’ benefits. The father receives the legal right to spend time with their child, which may include court ordered custody or visitation rights. The mother also benefits from the ability to request child support from the legal father to help pay for the expenses of their child’s daily needs.

Talk to Our Office Now

To learn more about how to establish paternity in Florida, call or contact our Tampa paternity lawyers at the office of Blair H. Chan, III today.





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