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Establishing Paternity In Florida


There are several ways to establish paternity in Florida. The simplest way is when you are married to a woman who is giving birth to the child. In Florida, there is a legal presumption that a husband is the legal father of a child born during the marriage. But what if you’re not married? Then the matter becomes trickier. In this article, the Orlando paternity lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law will discuss how to establish paternity in Florida when you are not legally married to the mother of the child.

What is the difference between a biological and legal father? 

Under Florida law, there is a distinction between the biological and legal father of a child. While a biological father can be determined by a DNA test, the legal father of a child is afforded the rights and responsibilities over a child as the child’s parent regardless of the results of a DNA test. A child’s legal father is established either by marriage, adoption, or a court ruling.

In the majority of cases, the biological and legal father of a child are the same. When the child is born in wedlock, there is a presumption under the law that the husband is the legal father of the child. In other words, legal fatherhood can be established simply by being married to your spouse. However, what happens when the child is born out of wedlock?

Suppose that Father and Mother have a relationship, but never marry. Mother becomes pregnant as a result of the relationship. Before the child is born, the Mother marries another man. This other man would be considered the legal father of the child while Father is not. In that case, Father may file a petition with the court to establish his paternity over the child (if he chooses). Mother can contest the paternity action and demand a DNA test. In that case, the DNA test would determine which man is the legal father of the child.

Now, what if Mother never married? Sometime later, a court may find that Father is the biological father of the child. Generally speaking, if Mother knew that Father was the biological father of the child, his name would be included on the birth certificate. However, some birth certificates don’t have fathers and that ultimately would need to be established by court order through a petition to establish paternity.

How an Orlando paternity attorney can help 

If you are a prospective father who wants legal rights over his child, Greater Orlando Family Law can help you establish paternity. If you are a mother who is seeking support payments from a prospective father, we can help you establish that individual’s paternity. Establishing paternity will determine the legal father of the child and require him to support the child. It will also entitle him to visitation and timesharing rights.

Talk to an Orlando Paternity Lawyer Today 

Greater Orlando Family Law represents the interests of fathers and mothers who are seeking to establish paternity. Call our Orlando family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your next steps right away.

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