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Establishing Paternity in Order to Enforce Visitation Rights

In the state of Florida, the family court system requires all fathers to establish paternity if they wish to exert their parenting rights upon a child that was born out of wedlock. While it would be assumed that a man and woman are the biological parents of a child that was born during the course of a marriage—as they would both be listed on the birth certificate—there is no way for the court to discern who the biological father is until the child's paternity has been established through DNA testing. Until then, the father would have no legal rights.

This subsequently means that they would have no legal standing to negotiate parenting time with the child. While both parents can work out a visitation schedule on their own terms, if the mother is willing to allow it, this is not a legally binding arrangement until a court order has been enforced by the court—which, again, would first require the father to establish paternity. As a result, the father's ability to visit their own child would hinge upon the mother's willingness to cooperate. Although this may not seem fair, the only way to combat this would be to participate in a DNA test through the correct legal channels.

Once the father's paternity has been established, however, they would subsequently need to request visitation rights from the court—as the results of a DNA test would not be sufficient enough to show that they are fit to raise a child. Since this process can prove to be a significant undertaking, especially when battling with an uncooperative mother, you should not hesitate to seek guidance from a Jacksonville divorce lawyer at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. if you, yourself are interested in reclaiming your parenting rights. To find out how we can help, just give us a call today at (904) 849-5183 and schedule a confidential consultation.