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Paternity Actions

Florida law stipulates that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he is married to the mother at the time of conception. However, the father of a child born outside of wedlock does not have the same automatic parental rights and obligations to the child.

If a child is born out of wedlock, the signing of a birth certificate does not establish the rights of a father. The signing of a birth certificate merely establishes a presumption that the man who signed is the father. A petition to establish paternity must be filed with the court to create or establish the parental rights of the father.

Florida law also permits the disestablishment of paternity under certain circumstances.

A petition to establish paternity may be initiated by either the mother or the father. In addition, anyone who believes himself to be the father may file to establish paternity.

If paternity has not been established and the child's guardian or mother requests government assistance for the child, the Florida Department of Revenue may file a petition to establish paternity for purposes of child support.

Protect Your Paternity Rights

At Meador Johnson & Bushnell, P.A., we help fathers and mothers establish paternity to protect rights such as receiving child support or to ensure that fathers receive proper parental time with the child.

Establishing paternity also provides a biological child the legal right to the father's death benefits, such as Social Security or veterans benefits, as well as any inheritance. It also provides the child access to important medical information through adulthood in the event any genetic medical issues may have been passed on from the birth father.

If there is a dispute regarding parentage, the court will likely require DNA testing or other reliable genetic testing. Once parentage is determined, the court will enter orders regarding child support, parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Contact Meador Johnson & Bushnell, P.A.

There are many issues to be considered in any paternity matter. We can answer any questions you may have regarding paternity law in Florida.

Our lawyers provide aggressive, intelligent advocacy to clients throughout northwest Florida. Call 800-785-4969 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.