When two people are married and they have a child together, it is presumed that the husband and wife are both the biological parents of the child. Unwed parents that have a child together are not given the same presumption. Due to this, it is essential that unmarried couples establish paternity early, as it can avoid disputes arising in the future. If you are not married to your child’s biological parent, below are the four biggest benefits you will realize by establishing paternity.
Establish Child Support
Parents in Florida are required to provide financially for their children. Establishing paternity will also establish the fact that one of the parents is responsible for paying child support.
The Right to Legal Custody
Legal custody gives one or both parents the right to make important decisions for their child, such as where they will receive their education and the medical care the child will receive. After a father establishes paternity, they will have a say in how their child is raised, giving them more control and involvement in their child’s life, a right they do not have until paternity is established.
The Right to Physical Custody
It is extremely important that children are provided the opportunity to develop a relationship with both parents. Without establishing paternity, fathers will give up their right to spend time with their child. Once paternity is established, the court will typically rule that the father has the right to spend time with their children and will award them some form of visitation time. The only exceptions to this are when the father has a history of domestic violence or serious substance abuse issues.
Access to Medical History
It is important to everyone’s health that they know their family’s medical history and the certain diseases or conditions they may be predisposed to developing. Children that are unsure of who their biological father is will have no right to obtain this information from them, even when they are adults. A paternity order though, will clearly state which person is the child’s biological father so the child or their mother can retrieve this information.
How to Establish Paternity
To establish paternity, a parent will have to file a Petition to Determine Paternity with the Court.
Need to Establish Paternity? Our Florida Family Lawyers can Help
Establishing paternity is beneficial for both parents, and the child they had together. If you did not establish paternity at the time of birth, our Orlando family lawyers at O’Mara Law Group are here to help. We can petition the court on your behalf to order paternity tests and inform you of your rights and obligations when the results are returned. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.