To establish paternity, any woman who is pregnant, or has a child, and any man who has reason to believe he is the father of a child, may request that paternity be determined and established. In any proceeding to establish paternity, the court may require scientific (DNA) testing. A determination of paternity for a child born out of wedlock also requires the father to pay child support and gives the father time-sharing (visitation) rights.
A man who believes he is the biological father of a child born out of wedlock is permitted to claim paternity of the child by filing with the Florida Putative Father Registry. This claim of paternity may be filed at any time prior to the child’s birth. An unmarried biological father who wishes to maintain his paternal rights should file with the Florida Putative Father Registry because failure to do so may result in the termination of those rights.
To disestablish paternity, a petition must be served on the mother or other legal guardian of the child, and must include a sworn statement made by the father. Along with the affidavit the father must also provide biological testing to support his petition to disestablish his paternal rights.
Establishing legal paternity is a key part of child custody and child support agreements. Whoever is determined to be the legal father will have all the rights and responsibilities of a father. Some of these rights and responsibilities include requirement to pay child support, coordinating with the child’s mother in a joint custody agreement, sole custody, visitation agreements and more.
Our goal is to help you accurately determine paternity so that the right custody, visitation and child support agreements can be reached. For answers to your questions about establishing paternity, call Jacksonville divorce lawyer Wendy Norman today.