Paternity Actions

In Florida, a paternity case is similar to a divorce case without property or alimony issues. Unmarried parents deal with the same child custody, visitation and child support issues as married parents who divorce. We represent both mothers who want child support payments, as well as fathers who want to have regular visits with their child.

In Florida, a paternity case is similar to a divorce case without property or alimony issues. Unmarried parents deal with the same child custody, visitation and child support issues as married parents who divorce. We represent both mothers who want child support payments, as well as fathers who want to have regular visits with their child. In situations such as these, it can be necessary to establish the paternity of a child through a legal process. We assist mothers and biological fathers with an interest in a child to secure the legal rights and obligations that accompany fatherhood.

In Florida, a paternity case is similar to a divorce case without property or alimony issues. Unmarried parents deal with the same child custody, visitation and child support issues as married parents who divorce. We represent both mothers who want child support payments, as well as fathers who want to have regular visits with their child. In situations such as these, it can be necessary to establish the paternity of a child through a legal process. We assist mothers and biological fathers with an interest in a child to secure the legal rights and obligations that accompany fatherhood.

The Rights and Obligations of Legal Paternity

Establishing paternity is important for asserting a number of legal rights and obligations in regard to children. Each of a child’s parents has a responsibility to support the child and a right to maintain a strong parent-child relationship. Moreover, the children have a right to a relationship with both of their parents.

When a married couple has a child, the law generally recognizes the husband as the father. When an unmarried woman has a child, a paternity action is often needed to establish parental rights. In that case, a DNA test will be used to show whether or not someone is the biological father. The results of the DNA test are then used by the court as evidence of parentage.

Once paternity is established, a father may seek a parenting plan or parenting time with his children. Alternatively, once paternity is established, a mother can file for child support for children the biological father refuses to acknowledge as his own. We represent clients interested in asserting visitation rights or seeking child support for children in their care. We prepare all necessary forms and documentation needed for requesting a paternity test through the court. Afterwards, we can assist you in filing for child support or establishing visitation rights 

Paternity establishes a “bundle of rights” that carries with it a legal relationship with certain financial obligations and benefits. Whether medical coverage, access to benefits, or inheritance rights are at issue, establishing paternity provides the following benefits for children:

  • Eligibility to receive child support
  • Inheritance of certain assets
  • Legal rights involving probate and the settlement of the father’s estate
  • Coverage under father’s health insurance plan
  • Access to father’s medical records for health purposes
  • Eligibility to receive the father’s Social Security disability or death benefits
  • Dependency claims for tax purposes when applying for student financial aid

Fathers have certain rights under Florida state law, especially in regard to a parenting plan and parenting time with their children after Paternity is judicially established. As a result, once paternity is established, fathers can assert their rights and pursue the following:

  • Substantial parenting time of children
  • The right to challenge an adoption
  • Establishing a Parenting Plan that gives the father more time with the children