Do you have questions about Florida paternity laws? Understanding your rights and responsibilities regarding paternity test laws in Florida and other areas related to family law will help you make the best decisions regarding your legal needs. As paternity lawyers, Golden Key Law Group understands the complexities of the law and the processes of the judicial system and provides expert legal counsel on Florida paternity laws.
We are also dedicated to giving you the information you need. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Florida paternity laws:
Does Signing a Birth Certificate Establish Paternity in Florida?
If you have signed a birth certificate of a child, this does not automatically establish paternity rights in Florida. It just establishes a “presumption” that the person who signed the certificate is the father. To establish legal paternity, you must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or file a Petition to Determine Paternity with the courts.
How is Paternity Established in Florida?
Establishing legal paternity in Florida is usually one of the first questions surrounding paternity laws. There are several ways to do this. When there is no disagreement between the mother and father as to the father’s paternity of the child, they can sign what is called a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. By signing this form, both parents are swearing under oath that the father has the legal rights to the child. Sixty days after the form is signed and submitted, the acknowledgment becomes final, meaning that neither parent can revoke paternity without first going to the courts. If you don’t sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment, then you can file a Petition to Determine Paternity.
When the Voluntary Acknowledgment form is signed and the sixty days have passed, or there is a Petition to Determine Paternity filed, Florida will recognize the father as the legal father. This allows the father the opportunity to:
- participate in raising the child,
- visit and have a relationship with the child, and
- the responsibility of providing appropriate support for the needs of the child
If there is a question regarding paternity, paternity test laws in Florida allow for either parent to request a DNA test to determine whether the father is the natural father of the child. If a judge determines paternity through a civil action in court, the court may order genetic testing as well. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, one or both parents may be ordered to pay for the genetic test and any other court costs.
Once paternity is established, Florida paternity laws dictate that an Administrative Order of Paternity will be issued, and then the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics will be instructed to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate. It is important to note that you don’t necessarily need to go to court to establish paternity. Paternity lawyers provide advice and counsel to help you make the best legal decisions for your situation.
What Rights Does a Father Have if He is on the Birth Certificate?
Once the father’s name is on the birth certificate and paternity is established, the father can then:
- file an action with the court to seek scheduled time with the child (or children),
- participate in parental responsibilities, and
- potentially have power in decision-making when it comes to educational, medical, religious, and other important areas of the child’s life
With an experienced family law attorney, you will have legal representation that advocates for you to ensure that your interests are communicated to the court.
What are the Custody Laws in Florida?
If you are going through a divorce or just establishing paternity in Florida, knowing how Florida law treats custody is important. First, it is important to note that Florida does not establish custody or visitation; instead, Florida establishes a Parenting Plan and Timesharing agreement.
A Parenting Plan is a tool that the Courts use to establish parental responsibility for the child(ren) and to give parents a set of rules or guidelines to effectively co-parent their child(ren). Parental responsibility is the Court’s determination about which parent will have the responsibility to make the major decisions, such as schooling and medical decisions, regarding the child. Florida Law requires the Court to award shared parental responsibility always except for certain specific situations. Beyond establishing parental responsibility, the Parenting Plan will provide the parents with guidelines for communicating with each other and other aspects of a co-parenting relationship.
A timesharing schedule is what it sounds like; it is a schedule that spells out when each parent will enjoy time with the child(ren). Timesharing schedules generally determine how many overnights each parent will have with the child(ren) during the year and how the parents will split holidays and school breaks. Every timesharing schedule looks different, as the Court establishes the appropriate timesharing based on several factors that can be found in Florida Statutes and the best interest of the child(ren).
What Determines Child Support?
Child support is important for the well-being of the child. There are four major factors that judges take into consideration when it comes to child support:
- The income of both parents
- Childcare expenses
- Health insurance expenses
- Timesharing arrangements
Paternity lawyers work closely with their clients to ensure their rights are behind upheld and their wishes are being communicated to the courts in regards to:
- parental responsibility,
- child support, and
- related issues in regards to Florida paternity laws
Contact a Family Law Attorney at Golden Key Law Today
Florida paternity laws give rights and benefits to the father, the mother, and the child. Because the judicial system is demanding and complex, it is crucial to have expert legal guidance and advocacy to facilitate the best overall outcome.
At Golden Key Law, we have represented numerous clients with needs in multiple aspects of Florida paternity laws. We understand that every case is unique and requires creative approaches to obtain a solution that maximizes results while minimizing legal costs. We care deeply about families, children, and parental rights and work aggressively to represent you across all areas of family law.
From Florida paternity leave laws to timesharing, child support, and divorce, we have both the experience and the passion when it comes to fighting hard for our client’s needs. We take the time to review the details of your case, take into account the personal impact that the issues have on you, the family, and the individual child, and provide our professional opinion regarding the strategy we should take to execute your goals. At Golden Key, we unlock the door to your legal solutions and have represented hundreds of clients with family law actions throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough County.
We understand how stressful it can be and are here to help. Golden Key Law values your concerns and ensures that your voice is heard.