Boca Raton Paternity Attorney
The rights associated with legal parenthood are extremely important; without these rights, parents are unable to make decisions about their child’s healthcare or education, or petition for visitation rights or child custody in the event of a separation or divorce.
In Florida, biological mothers of children are automatically granted the rights associated with motherhood, or full legal parental rights, upon children’s births. Fathers, on the other hand, have to establish their paternity in order to gain such rights. The following considers the importance of establishing paternity in Florida, as well as how to establish paternity. If you have questions about Florida paternity laws, our experienced Florida Board Certified Marital and Family law attorney can help.
How to Establish Legal Paternity in Florida
There are five ways to establish legal paternity in Florida. These include:
- Court order. In the event that paternity is not established at the child’s birth, a judge may order paternity in court.
- Genetic testing. If a genetic test reveals that a man is indeed a child’s father, then an administrative order for paternity will follow.
- Legitimization. Legitimization occurs when an unmarried couple gives birth to a child, and then – after the child’s birth – gets married and updates the birth record to reflect legal parentage.
- Marriage. If a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth, paternity is automatically established.
- Acknowledgement of paternity. Finally, if a couple is not married at the time of a child’s birth, but both parties acknowledge that the male in the relationship is indeed the child’s biological father, the parents can sign an acknowledgement of paternity form.
Why Establishing Paternity Is Important
As mentioned above, unless paternity is established, a father – even if he is the biological father – will have no legal rights over their child. Consider a situation in which an unmarried couple has a child together, and at the time of the child’s birth, the father does not sign an acknowledgement of paternity form. If the couple separates later, the father will have no legal premise to petition the court for custody or visitation of the child; fatherhood will not be recognized in the eyes of the law.
Further, a father who has not established paternity over their child may be limited in other areas concerning the child as well. For example, if a child has an accident and needs emergency medical care, the father may be barred from participating in the decision making process based on his lack of legally established paternity.
Same Sex Couples
At the Law Offices of David L. Hirschbert, P.A., we are familiar with the laws affecting same sex couples, and the importance of properly establishing legal paternity of a child.
Work with an Experienced Boca Raton Paternity Attorney
Whether you are happily in a relationship with your child’s parent, or are separating/divorcing, our qualified South Florida divorce and family law firm can help you to establish paternity and ensure your parental rights are protected. For a consultation at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., fill out our online form or contact us at (561) 288-8620 today.