Paternity Actions in Florida
Florida, like many other states throughout the United States, has seen a rapid growth in the number of children born out of wedlock. In these cases, the need to establish paternity often arises for a variety of reasons, such as assurance by one or both parties, to create an official record, for purposes of seeking support, and more. Florida law requires individuals to follow a particular set of rules or procedures to establish paternity within the state. As an experienced and compassionate family lawyer, I can assist you in filing for paternity and developing a parenting plan and child support. My philosophy is that both parents should be equally involved in their child's life. I strongly advocate for 50/50 time-sharing as I genuinely believe it is in a child's best interest to grow up with both parents equally involved.
Standing to File Paternity Actions
There are many cases in which concerned parents or siblings wonder whether their family member is the father of a child. Although the concern is undoubtedly sincere in most cases, these individuals do not have the standing to file an action in paternity. In Florida paternity cases, only a mother or potential father may file suit to establish paternity. Also, the court will only entertain a paternity filing if it has not already been established.
Establishment of Paternity
Establishing paternity is the process to obtain a legal acknowledgment that confirms that a parental relationship exists. It is essential to understand that paternity may have been established regardless of whether or not a paternity test was taken. Some circumstances in which the court has found paternity without a test include:
- When a child is born into an intact marriage: In any case in which a married woman gives birth, there is a presumption that her husband is the father of the child.
- When an acknowledgment of paternity was signed: A court will find that paternity has been established in any case in which a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity signed in the presence of a notary or two witnesses. Both parties must sign this acknowledgment.
- Marriage to the purported father marries the child's mother: In cases in which a child is born out of wedlock and the parties subsequently marry, the court will consider the purported father of the child as the parent and find that paternity has been established.
There are other scenarios in which the establishment of paternity may result from one's actions. For a review of the facts and circumstances of your case, contact Antonio today.
Challenging an Establishment of Paternity
Disestablishing paternity requires a petition (that can only be filed by the male legally declared to be the father) to allege that newly discovered evidence has developed after the initial paternity determination occurred. Outside of limited circumstances, one may be barred from challenging a prior paternity determination.
Speak with me Today
I am an experienced family law attorney assisting clients in the Miami, Florida area. I concentrate my practice on family law cases with paternity cases representing a large percentage of my practice. If you need an attorney that will aggressively protect your rights as a parent, you can count on me to help. I pride myself on my ability to accurately advise you of the best course of action to meet your particular needs. If you need legal assistance on a family law matter, call me for a free phone consultation.