Paternity refers to legally establishing that a man is the father of a child. Men may require the services of a Jacksonville paternity lawyer to establish that they are in fact the father of the child or to establish that they are not the child's father. No matter what your paternity needs may be, Charles E. Willmott, P.A. is here to help. It is important to understand that a biological father and a legal father are different from one another.
A man could be the biological father of a child, but if he is not listed on the birth certificate, paternity must be established in order for him to be identified as the legal father. As an experienced paternity lawyer in Jacksonville, I can assist you with your paternity case and advocate for your rights and interests.
Looking to establish paternity in Florida? Contact Charles E. Willmott, P.A. to start discussing your case today.
Reasons for Establishing Paternity
In Florida, paternity petitions can be filed by both men and women for various reasons, many of which involve child custody and support.
As a mother, you may need to establish paternity so that you can receive the child support you need to properly care for your child. Establishing paternity can be very helpful if you were never married to your child's father and he has refused to make child support payments. As an experienced Jacksonville paternity lawyer, I can help you file a paternity petition and seek the financial support to which you are entitled.
In other cases, a man may want to establish paternity in order to prove that they are not the child's father and should not be held responsible for child support. I can also assist you if you need to establish that you are your child's legal father so that you can protect your rights and relationship with them. Establishing your parentage will give you full rights as the child's legal father and ensure that you receive proper visitation time or partial custody.
Some of the rights and benefits immediately enjoyed by the child include:
- The child will know the identity of his or her father
- The father's name is put on the birth certificate
- Health or life insurance from either parent, where applicable
- Financial support from both parents
- The right to Social Security or veteran's benefits or military allowances
- The right to inheritances
Once paternity is officially established, both parents have the right to a child support order, to obtain a court order for custody or visitation, and to have a say in legal decisions concerning the child.
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 paternity 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.
How do I establish paternity in Florida?
In Florida, paternity can be established either through marriage, signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born or later, through an administrative order based on genetic testing (paternity is ordered after a genetic test has determined fatherhood), a court order (a judge orders paternity in court), and through legitimation. With legitimation, the mother and natural father of the child get married to each other after the child is born and subsequently update the child's birth records through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics.
Genetic testing is frequently used to establish paternity; a genetic test is also called a DNA test. With a genetic test, there is no need for needles. Skin cells are collected from the inside cheek area of the mouth with a cotton swab; this test is performed on the mother, the alleged father, and the child. Genetic tests are always used with the Administrative Order method, and sometimes a judge will order a genetic test. If the mother or the alleged father has any doubt as to whom the real father is, it's a good idea to get a genetic test.
Are you interested in filing for paternity in Jacksonville?
Whether you are a mother, father, or alleged father, I can guide you through your paternity proceedings in a timely and effective manner. At my firm, the best interests of my clients' children always come first. At Charles E. Willmott, P.A., I can evaluate your paternity case to help you understand your options and rights in the matter. If you wish to establish paternity in Florida, it is important to do so during the first three years of your child's life.
I can help with various issues that may arise during your paternity case, including filing important paperwork, seeking the child support or child custody that you are entitled to, and answering your questions.
Contact one of my firm's paternity lawyer in Jacksonville to get started with your case immediately!
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