Ocala Paternity attorney If you are looking for legal help, look no futher than Melissa K. Hancock, P.A. Contact us Today

How Is Paternity Established in Florida? 

Paternity is established in Florida in two ways:

  • 1. Voluntarily through a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form or
  • 2. Through a court order filed by the mother, the alleged father, a legal representative of the child, or by the Florida Department of Child Support Services.

After the birth of the child, both parents can sign the Acknowledgement form listed above in which they formally acknowledge under oath that the father listed on the form is the child’s legal father. After signing the form, legal status of the father becomes final after 60 days have passed. After that, this legal status cannot be undone except in circumstances  of fraud or coercion. However, this status does not immediately grant custody and timesharing nor does it formally establish a child support obligation. These rights and obligations must be established or ordered through the courts.

Without an Acknowledgment form, paternity can only be established through a court process. This is generally done through genetic or DNA testing. Once this testing establishes that the alleged father is the biological father, the court can then issue child support payments in accordance with state guidelines. The father can also then seek some form of joint custody and timesharing arrangements. 

Many reasons exist for the establishment of paternity aside from the requirement for paternal financial support of the child. Many unmarried fathers wish to establish a meaningful and lasting relationship with their children despite that fact that they do not and may never share the child’s home with his or her mother. 

Paternity can also provide helpful biological and medical information about the child that may be pertinent to his or her health both now and in the future. Additionally, the child may be eligible for government benefits based on the father’s disability or military history, may be eligible for health care benefits through the father, or may be entitled to family inheritances from the father or his side of the family. Paternity also allows the father to participate in legal custody related to making major decisions about the child’s education, health care, and more. 

Ocala Paternity Lawyer 

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the issue of paternity may arise. The establishment of paternity may be sought by an unmarried mother seeking child support from the biological father or by an unmarried father seeking to establish legal parental rights to his child. Under Florida law, when paternity is established, it grants parental rights such as custody and timesharing as well as establishes the father’s obligation to provide financial support for the child. Without the establishment of paternity, a biological father has no legal parental rights related to the child at all nor does the mother have any right to enforce financial support for the child from the father.

If you are an unmarried mother or father needing legal assistance with paternity in Ocala or the counties of Marion, citrus, Lake, Sumer, or Hernando, you can turn the Law Office of Melissa K. Hancock, P.A. for help. Attorney Melissa Hancock brings superior qualifications to your legal case as a Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law. She is backed by many years of family law practice, including successful litigation of cases in the local courts. When retaining her services, you can be confident that your case is being handled by an expert in this field with a proven track record of results.

For legal assistance with paternity, contact the Law Office of Melissa K. Hancock, P.A. online or by calling (352) 310-0136 to arrange for a confidential consultation. 

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