Establishing paternity is the foundation of a father’s rights, securing parental privileges and obligations such as child visitation, custody, child support, and sharing in decisions regarding a child’s upbringing. Having a legal father is highly beneficial to a child’s well-being. An emotional bond with both parents builds a positive self-image and aids in a child’s overall psychological development. Other benefits for the child include the right to claim inheritances, medical insurance coverage, social security, military benefits, and medical history from their father’s family. Establishing paternity also allows a mother the right to file for child support and share the responsibilities of raising the child.
Paternity is a sensitive matter and requires the counsel of a compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorney. At Boudreau Law Firm, we can help parents understand their options to secure a biological father’s identity. Establishing or disestablishing paternity are complex issues, and we can effectively represent your interests. With more than four decades of family law experience, Attorneys Gayle Boudreau and Robert A. Sandow, Attorney of Counsel, can provide effective solutions for your family law conflicts.
When a child is born, the mother’s spouse is automatically presumed to be the legal father. If the mother is not married at the time of a child’s birth and the parents voluntarily agree, the father can complete a Paternity Acknowledgment form in the hospital. When the biological father is in denial of paternity or a question arises about the identity of a child’s father, legal intervention in a civil court action can determine parentage through genetic testing.
Once paternity is established, the parents can assert their legal rights for custody, timesharing, and court-ordered child support. If the parents agree on these critical issues, they can file documents with the court for their approval. But, if disputes arise about the legally established father’s role, either parent can petition the court for a hearing. At that time, a judge will decide what is in the best interest of the child.
There are instances where a child’s mother, either intentionally or unintentionally, mistakenly names a child’s father. Newly discovered evidence such as genetic testing may terminate parental obligations. Florida law allows for victims of misattributed paternity to file civil actions to recover fraudulent child support payments from the mother. These claims are decided in court on a case-by-case basis. A judge also uses his or her discretion to decide if further child support payments should cease or continue in the child’s best interests.
For a mother seeking child support, a father seeking to assert his rights to a child, or an alleged father disputing a request for child support, Boudreau Law Firm can assist with negotiations and legal actions to resolve your paternity issue. We believe that every child deserves to have a relationship with their legal father who can actively participate in their lives, protect, and provide for them.