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DIVORCE

CUSTODY/VISITATION & SUPPORT

CRIMINAL AND JUVENILE LAW

Florida Paternity Laws

Attorney Representation in Tampa, FL for over 40 years

Although the laws governing child time sharing (referred to as custody) and support vary among states, all laws require the establishment of paternity. At Raymond R. Pines, I help our clients navigate paternity law, and establish or deny paternity. In most cases, the mother seeks to verify paternity to enforce the child’s rights to child support, medical insurance benefits, and life insurance from the biological father. Meanwhile, the biological father might seek paternity testing to protect his rights to child custody, to provide financial security for the child, and to play a more active role in the child’s life.

In Florida, when a married couple has a child, paternity law automatically recognizes the husband as the father. When an unmarried woman has a child, however, paternity law requires an official act to establish the legal father of the child. This is called establishing paternity. A parent may want proof that the man is the biological father of a child. In this case, the law allows the use of a genetic test to confirm paternity. There are two possible outcomes of this test: either the man is not the biological father (he is excluded), or there is an extremely high probability that the man is the biological father. The results of a genetic test are considered reliable enough to serve as evidence of parentage. Therefore, a court order is then issued to establish or to deny paternity.

Under Florida paternity law, establishing paternity gives children born outside a marriage the same legal rights as children born to married parents. Children with legal fathers are entitled to benefits through their fathers. This may include Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, and inheritance rights. Children also benefit from knowing their biological father’s cultural and medical history, in case of inherited health problems. At any time before the child has reached the age of majority, either parent may legally take action to establish paternity. In Florida, the age of majority is 18.

Establishing paternity also gives the parents legal rights. Paternity law allows the parent to seek a court order for child support, custody or visitation. It also gives the parents right to a voice in legal decisions affecting the child.

Contact a Tampa Family Attorney

For the advice of an experienced lawyer on the full range of legal questions that can surround paternity law in Florida, contact an experienced family law attorney at Raymond R. Pines, P.A.