Biologically, every child has a father; however determining which party is the legal father can be more complex. The process of determining the legal father of the child is called establishing paternity.
Paternity is automatically established when the father and mother are married; however establishing paternity can become more complex when the parents are unmarried.
If you are a father or mother seeking to establish paternity for your minor child, it is important to consult an experienced Palm Beach County family law attorney.
West Palm Beach Paternity Lawyer
The team of attorneys at Quality Family Law are experienced and seasoned in all aspects of family law, including paternity, child support, time-sharing or child custody, and guardianship. Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 693-3126 or submit an online for to schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney.
Quality Family Law represents individuals throughout Palm Beach County, Florida, including Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and surrounding areas.
Florida Paternity Overview
The term paternity refers to legal fatherhood. Paternity is automatically established when the parents are married at the time the child is born; however, establishing paternity can be more complex when the mother and the alleged father are unmarried.
Paternity may be established in the following ways:
- Acknowledgement of Paternity
- Genetic Testing
- Court Order
Acknowledgment of Paternity
If the mother and father of the child are not married when the child is born then paternity can be established at birth or at a later date by signing a form. Both the mother and father of the child must sign the form acknowledging paternity.
The form is then mailed to Florida Office of Vital Statistics. Once the form is processed by the Florida Office of Vital Statistics the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate.
Administrative Order and Court Order Genetic Testing
Genetic testing, also referred to as DNA testing, is a scientific analysis of genetic markers which is performed by a qualified technical laboratory only to exclude an individual as the parent of a child or to show a probability of paternity. Genetic testing may be required by administrative order or court order.
An administrative action may be brought by the Department of Revenue to order genetic testing and establish paternity through genetic testing. Administrative actions are generally preferred, because the parties do not have to go to court.
A court action may be brought by the mother of the child, a man who has reason to believe he is the father of the child, or any child to establish paternity. The court will order DNA testing to establish paternity. If the alleged father does not attend the court proceedings, a default judgment establishing paternity may be issued against him.
Paternity may be established through legitimation if the father and mother of the child are later married. The father and mother sign a form acknowledging paternity and send the form to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics with a copy of the marriage certificate. The child’s birth certificate is then updated to reflect the name of the father and the marital status of the parents.
Establishing paternity is important, because it grants the father certain rights and obligations, including the right to make decisions on behalf of the child, the right to custody and visitation, and the obligation to provide financial and medial support for the child until the child reaches the age of majority.
Establishing paternity is also beneficial to the child, because it establishes several rights, including the right to receive financial support until he or she reaches the age of majority, access to the father’s medical history information, and the right to inherit, receive survivor’s benefits, and receive social security in the event of the father’s death.
Palm Beach County Attorney for Establishing Paternity
Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 693-3126 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential consultation. Quality Family Law represents individuals and families throughout Florida, including Palm Beach County and surrounding areas.
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