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How do you Establish Legal Paternity in Florida?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Paternity on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

Though you may be familiar with the term paternity, you may also wonder what the legal significance of establishing paternity is. Establishing paternity allows a child to have a legal father and also provides important rights to the child, father and mother of the child. Parents can gain important rights by establishing paternity -- including the ability to obtain a child support order, the ability to obtain a court order for child custody or visitation and to be involved in legal decisions concerning the child.

Benefits and rights the child can gain from legally establishing paternity, in addition to the emotional benefits, include knowing the identify of their father, having the name of the father on the birth certificate, knowledge of family medical history from the father's side, health or life insurance benefits from the father, child support and medical support and additional benefits such as Social Security benefits, veteran's benefits, military allowances or inheritance rights when applicable.

There are several ways that paternity is established in Florida and one method is through a legal action to determine paternity. If the child's parents are married, the legal father of a child is considered the husband of the mother. Other ways that legal paternity may be established include through an acknowledgement of paternity if an unmarried couple signs a legal document acknowledging paternity when the child is born or later on, the legitimation process when the mother and father are married following the birth of the child and formally update the child's birth certificate according to the correct legal procedure in Florida, an administrative order based on paternity established through genetic testing or a court order when the court orders paternity.

It is important to establish paternity for a variety of legal reasons but can also be an important emotional consideration for families. The family law process provides help for families to address the legal and emotional concerns associated with important issues such as the determination of paternity.

Source: The Florida Department of Revenue, "Establishing Legal Paternity," Accessed May 9, 2016

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