Family Law Overview

Paternity

Paternity
Family Law Attorney Serving Hollywood and Other South Florida Cities

Under Florida law, when a child is born to married parents, it is assumed that the man is the father of the child. In cases in which the parents of a child are not married, establishing paternity can easily become a contentious and complicated process. If you need to establish or fight against establishing the paternity of a child, it is in your best interest to consult with a Hollywood paternity lawyer to discuss how a determination of paternity may affect you and ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Cindy D. Sackrin is a board-certified specialist in marital and family law. She frequently handles child support and paternity disputes for high-profile clients, including professional athletes.

Ms. Sackrin has substantial trial experience and is skilled in navigating the Florida court system. As a seasoned family law attorney, she has the knowledge and experience to aid you in establishing paternity or fighting a determination of paternity, depending on your situation.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

Under Florida law, when the parents of a child are unwed, but the identity of the father of the child is not disputed by the mother or purported father, both parents can complete and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity to legally establish paternity of the child. The form must be signed in front of a notary public or two witnesses and filed with the office of vital statistics, after which the father’s name will be placed on the birth certificate. By signing the form, both parents attest that the man is the biological father of the child, and the father agrees to share responsibility with the mother for the financial and medical support of the child.

Either party can revoke the Acknowledgement within 60 days of the date that it was signed, unless a court hearing was held during that time to establish paternity. If neither party rescinds the Acknowledgement, the child’s paternity is legally recognized under Florida law. If paternity is established via a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, it can only be revoked if it can be shown that the agreement was signed due to fraud or duress.

Court Order Establishing Paternity

If the paternity of a child is disputed, either the mother or a man who believes that he is the child’s father may file an Establishment of Paternity action with a court that has jurisdiction over the matter. The court will weigh evidence and testimony regarding the nature of the mother and alleged father’s relationship to determine whether the man is the father of the child. A paternity attorney can help Hollywood residents compile and present this evidence. For example, if the mother and purported father were involved in a relationship for a long time, and there is no evidence that the mother had any other romantic relationships, the court may find the man to be the child’s father. In some cases in which evidence and testimony alone are insufficient to establish paternity, the court may order genetic testing to determine the child’s father. If the court finds a man to be the father of a child, it will issue an order establishing paternity. The court may also set forth orders on issues such as support and custody and timesharing of the child.

Even if no action is filed to determine the paternity of a child when the child is born, this does not preclude either party from filing an action at a later date. In Florida, an action to establish paternity can be filed up until four years after a child reaches the age of majority. As a result, if you believe that you may be involved in a paternity dispute in the future, you should confer with a Hollywood paternity attorney who is experienced in litigating these disputes as soon as possible.

Disestablishment of Paternity

In some cases in which paternity has already been determined, a man may later learn that he is not in fact the father of a child. Under Florida law, a man can file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity with the court to renounce a previous determination that he is the father of a child. Disestablishing paternity of a child is a complicated process, and several factors must be met before the court will grant a Petition to Disestablish Paternity. First, the Petition must include an affidavit stating that newly discovered evidence has come forth since paternity was established. It must include the results of a scientific test to establish paternity, showing that the man is not the father, or an affidavit stating that he does not have access to the child to perform the required testing. Also, any required child support payments must be current. The court will then weigh several other elements, including whether the man adopted the child or acknowledged his paternity in a sworn statement, before determining whether to disestablish paternity.

Consult a Knowledgeable Paternity Lawyer in the Hollywood Area

Establishing a child’s paternity can be an emotionally charged and difficult process. If you are involved in a dispute over the paternity of a child, you should seek a definitive declaration of paternity as soon as possible to protect your rights and privileges. Cindy D. Sackrin has the knowledge and skills to help you navigate the delicate process of establishing paternity, as well as pursuing or contesting relocation and protecting other aspects of your relationship with a child. Attorney Sackrin regularly represents individuals in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Aventura, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, Weston, Coral Springs, and Pembroke Pines, among other cities. Contact Ms. Sackrin at 954-455-0800 or via our online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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