Orlando Paternity Lawyer
Establishing paternity is often necessary to pursue your rights to custody, visitation, and child support. Choose the O’Mara Law Group when you need a compassionate Orlando paternity lawyer. Our experienced attorneys specialize in paternity cases, allowing you to protect your rights and your child’s best interests. With personalized strategies and clear communication, we navigate the complexities of family law. Contact us today for a consultation and secure a brighter future for you and your child.
Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: September 22, 2023
When a mother has a baby, it is obvious that she is the child’s biological and rightful mother. For fathers, it’s not always as straightforward. While married fathers are presumed to be a child’s legal parent, unmarried fathers are not. Thus, unmarried fathers must establish paternity to assert their legal parental rights, including custody and visitation. Conversely, mothers seeking child support must establish the unmarried father’s paternity to pursue their rights.
If you face a paternity issue in Orlando, Florida, finding suitable legal representation is vital to protect your rights and ensure your child’s best interests. Establishing paternity can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, but with the support of a skilled Orlando paternity lawyer, you can navigate through these legal intricacies with confidence.
At the O’Mara Law Group, we proudly offer the services of our experienced and dedicated Orlando attorneys specializing in family law matters. We understand the importance of resolving paternity disputes and are committed to meeting every client’s individual needs.
Work with a Compassionate and Experienced Orlando Paternity Lawyer
If you need a compassionate and skilled Orlando paternity attorney, the O’Mara Law Group provides the support and guidance you need during this challenging time. With extensive experience in family law, our attorneys possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to handle paternity cases in Florida.
We know that every paternity case is unique, and we will take the time to listen to your story, gather relevant information, and assess the specific circumstances of your case. At the O’Mara Law Group, we are ready to discuss your case and legal options.
Rights of the Father Once Paternity Is Established
Once paternity is confirmed, fathers in Florida have legal options to protect their rights concerning their children. These rights include the following:
Rights of the Mother Once Paternity Is Established
Mothers also have specific rights once paternity is established in Florida. These rights include the following:
How to Establish Paternity in Florida
Several methods are available for establishing paternity in the Sunshine State. They are the following:
Acknowledgment of Paternity
One way to establish paternity in Florida is through the voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. This process involves both parents signing a legal document acknowledging the father’s paternity, then filing it with the Florida Office of Vital Statistics. Once properly executed, it becomes legal documentation of paternity.
The husband is presumed to be the father if the child is born during a valid marriage. In these cases, paternity is automatically established, and no further action is necessary. However, if there is any doubt about the husband’s paternity, additional steps may be required to establish legal paternity. One such step is DNA testing.
DNA testing is a highly accurate method to determine biological parentage and is commonly used to establish paternity. Genetic testing involves collecting samples from inside a person’s cheek using a cotton swab or drawing blood. The sample may come from the child, the alleged father, or the mother.
After the samples are gathered, they are sent to a laboratory for testing. DNA analysis compares specific genetic markers to determine if there is a match between the alleged father and the child. The laboratory technicians examine these DNA profiles to assess the likelihood of paternity.
The time it takes to receive the DNA test results for paternity in Florida can vary. Generally, the process takes a few weeks from collecting the samples until the results are delivered. However, this timeframe depends on the laboratory’s workload, the complexity of the case, and any potential need for additional testing.
Once the DNA test results are available, they are provided to the involved parties. The results indicate the probability of paternity, usually expressed as a percentage, which serves as conclusive evidence in establishing paternity.
Does a Name on a Birth Certificate Establish Paternity in Florida?
In Florida, simply having the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate does not establish legal paternity. While it may create a presumption of paternity, a listed name does not guarantee legal rights and obligations. A father questioning the child’s paternity must file a civil action in circuit court, where a judge will determine paternity.
Birth certificates are often filled out based on the information provided by the mother or other individuals at the time of birth. Sometimes, the information may be inaccurate or contested, especially if several potential fathers are involved or when the biological father’s identity is uncertain.
How Do You Get a Court-Ordered Paternity Test?
When disputing paternity, or if there is a need for legal confirmation of parentage, a court-ordered paternity test may be necessary.
The test is conducted under the supervision of the court and is typically admissible as evidence. Your legal team presents your case at the court hearing. The judge determines whether a court-ordered paternity test is necessary. If so, the court orders DNA testing at an approved facility. The test results are legally binding and can impact child custody, visitation, and child support.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Paternity in Florida?
If the mother wishes to establish paternity, there is generally no statute of limitations. She can file a paternity action at any time. However, taking action as soon as possible is advisable to avoid any challenges related to evidence and the passage of time.
A statute of limitations does limit how long the father has to establish paternity. In Florida, the father has four years from the child’s age of majority to initiate a paternity action. Certain exceptions can extend the statute of limitations in paternity cases, such as:
How Long Does It Take To Establish Paternity in Florida?
The timeline to establish paternity in Florida can vary depending on several factors, including:
The court’s primary focus is the child’s best interests. It will thoroughly examine the evidence and carefully consider the circumstances. The commitment to fairness and accuracy can result in a longer process.
Additionally, parties involved in the case may request continuances or extensions, extending the timeline. Sometimes, there is a need for additional time to gather evidence, negotiate settlements, or accommodate scheduling conflicts. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for cases to take several months to resolve.
Safeguard Your and Your Child's Rights in Florida
When establishing paternity in Florida, it is essential to safeguard both your and your child’s rights. An attorney at the O’Mara Law Group will provide you with the necessary guidance, explain the legal process, and advocate for your rights throughout the proceedings.
Your attorney will help you familiarize yourself with the rights and responsibilities of establishing paternity. They will also assist in collecting relevant documents, such as birth records, correspondence, and evidence supporting your claim or dispute regarding paternity. These documents can be valuable in building your case and protecting your rights.
Also, it is essential to cooperate with the legal proceedings by doing the following:
Complying with the legal process demonstrates your commitment to establishing paternity and acting in the child’s best interests.
Consult with an Orlando Paternity Lawyer
The O’Mara Law Group offers compassionate and experienced legal representation for paternity matters in Orlando, Florida. With our expertise in family law and commitment to protecting your rights and your child’s best interests, your paternity case is in capable hands. If you need a skilled Orlando paternity lawyer, contact the O’Mara Law Group to schedule a consultation today!
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