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In Florida, a paternity action safeguards both parent’s legal rights and responsibilities as it pertains to a minor child (or children). Generally, for mothers, a paternity action will establish paternity as to the minor child for purposes of child support and inheritance. Generally, for fathers, a paternity action will solidify his legal rights as a father and ensure his right to both visit and participate in decision making for the child.

Florida law provides for several avenues to establish paternity of a minor child. The first way that this can be accomplished is through a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. If there is no dispute between the mother and father about the child’s paternity, both parties may sign and file a “voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.” This form will allow the father to obtain all legal rights and responsibilities as it pertains to the minor child, including the right to visit the child and participate in the upbringing of the child. This acknowledgement will become legally binding upon both parties after 60 days.

The second way that paternity can be established is through marriage. If a child is born outside of wedlock, the father is not considered the “legal” father right away, even if he has signed the child’s birth certificate. If the parties marry after the child has been born, the husband will be considered the legal father of the minor child by “legitimization”

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“Paternity – Chaban Law Group”

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“Family Law – Chaban Law Group”

If the parties do not agree upon the paternity of the child, then a paternity action should be filed in court. The court can find an alleged father to be the legal father by several avenues, including physical evidence as well as by genetic testing. If you are an alleged father and have been served with a summons, it is important to appear and respond. A failure to appear and respond can lead to a default whereby the court can find that the alleged father is the legal father.

Whether you are a mother or a father, our attorneys can help assist you through this process so that your rights are protected. Contact our office today to let us know how we can help you.

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