Having a child with someone you are not married to can create certain dilemmas. Disputes often arise concerning rights regarding child support and child time-sharing arrangements. Rather than attempt to negotiate these matters on your own, the best way to protect yourself and your child’s best interests is to take your case to court. To do this, the first step typically involves establishing paternity. Find out more about the benefits of establishing paternity in Boca Raton and the process involved.
How To Establish Paternity in Boca Raton
When married couples have children, paternity is automatically presumed. In cases of unmarried individuals, paternity may be established through voluntary acknowledgment. This requires having both parents sign form DH-432, Acknowledgement of Paternity, and filing it with the Florida Health Department. If either party refuses, you may need to take the case to court.
The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office advises that any woman who is pregnant or has a child and any man with a reason to believe he is the father may file a petition to establish paternity in the Family Court. Rules regarding paternity proceedings include:
- Legal proceedings must be filed in the county where either you or the other parent lives;
- The court will determine paternity, typically through DNA testing;
- Once paternity is established, the court may order child support, along with payment of court costs and medical fees;
- Once a paternity order is in place, you may take additional legal actions to determine parental rights and child time-sharing arrangements.
How Establishing Paternity Protects You and Your Child
In some cases involving unmarried parents, the person who currently has sole custody of a child may feel they are better off without the other person in their lives. In others, a couple may have an informal agreement in place regarding child support and custody.
In either situation, it is still important to formally establish paternity. The Florida Department of Revenue strongly encourages single parents to take this step and details some of the benefits it offers:
- Allows you to establish and enforce child support payments through wage garnishment, asset seizure, and other actions;
- Provides legal protection against unauthorized visitation and parental kidnapping, in which the other parent either takes or fails to return the child;
- Allows access to health care coverage and potentially important medical information;
- Ensures the child is treated as a beneficiary in regards to any government benefits the other parent is entitled to or in the event they die or become disabled.
Request A Confidential Consultation with Our Boca Raton Paternity Attorney
At The Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., you can count on us to provide the caring support and trusted legal guidance you need when dealing with sensitive issues involving your family. We protect your rights in paternity proceedings while making sure both you and your child are protected. To discuss your case and the options available, call or contact our Boca Raton paternity attorneys online and request a confidential consultation today.