Your 5 Options for Establishing Paternity
Parentage can be complicated for fathers, who often face more uncertainty when it comes to establishing whether they are the biological parent of a child. Because the personal and legal ramifications of being a parent are so important, Florida law provides fathers with a number of different options for establishing paternity of a child. For help determining which of these methods is best suited to help you establish paternity in your own case, please call our experienced Clearwater paternity lawyers today.
When a woman gives birth and is married, her husband is automatically presumed to be the biological father of the child. This is the simplest form of establishing paternity, as it doesn’t require additional action by either the child’s mother or father. Instead, the necessary paperwork will be completed by the hospital.
If, on the other hand, a child’s parents were not married at the time of his or her birth, but later solemnized their union, the father could establish his paternity when applying for a marriage license. To add his name to the child’s birth certificate, the parents will need to complete an Affirmation of Common Children Born in Florida form, or provide a written statement confirming paternity to the Clerk of Court.
Even if a child’s parents are unmarried at the time of the birth, the father can still establish paternity at the hospital. This, however, is only possible if both parties are willing to voluntarily acknowledge the child’s paternity by filling out and signing a Paternity Acknowledgement form. Once completed and notarized, the form is sent to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, which will record the birth and include the father’s name on the birth certificate. This option is not available, however, if the child’s mother was married to someone else at the time of the birth.
It is also possible to establish paternity by filing a civil action in court. There are a few different courses of actions for those who go this route. For instance, if both parents agree to legal paternity before the day of the court hearing, they can sign a consent order that the judge will then adopt and finalize. If an agreement isn’t reached, however, both parents will need to appear in court, where a judge will decide based on the evidence presented, whether the man in question is the child’s father. In most cases, a judge will order a genetic test before issuing a ruling. If, however, a father doesn’t show up to the hearing, a judge can establish paternity through default.
Going to court isn’t necessary for those who wish to establish paternity. Instead, the parties can seek aid from the state’s Child Support Program, which will ask both alleged parents and the child to provide genetic samples. If the test reveals that the man in question is the child’s biological father, the state will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity and notify the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.
Call Today for Help
To speak with a Clearwater attorney about the best way to establish paternity of your own child, please call Cairns Law at 727-683-1472 today.