The Process of Establishing Paternity is an Important One

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Family Law on Friday, February 19, 2016.

Establishing legal paternity is important for a number of reasons. Establishing paternity legally identifies a child's father. When a child is born to married parents, paternity is presumed; when a child is born to parents that are unmarried, legal paternity is not established. A paternity action can be filed by either the mother or putative father to determine paternity of the child.

Paternity can be legally established in Florida in a number of different ways. Paternity can be established through marriage but also through acknowledgement of paternity at birth or at some point later on; through legitimization when the parents are later married which requires the child's birth certificate to be updated after the child is born and the parents become married; through an administrative order following a genetic paternity test; or through a court order.

Establishing paternity provides legal rights and benefits to the child, father and mother. The rights and benefits the child may enjoy by establishing paternity can include the child's awareness of the identity of its father; having the name of the child's father on its birth certificate; child support and medical support from the child's father; knowledge of the medical history of the child's father; and life insurance and other benefits including Social Security or other benefits and inheritances.

The rights and benefits the parents may enjoy by establishing paternity include the ability to obtain a child support order; the ability to obtain court-ordered custody or visitation of the child; and the ability to have a role in making legal decisions for the child. Paternity is a sensitive but important issue with many legal and emotional implications. Because of the importance of establishing paternity, it is helpful for parents to be familiar with how it is established and how the family law process provides resources parents and children need to establish paternity.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "Establishing Legal Paternity," Accessed Feb. 15, 2016

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