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Paternity is a legal action to identify and judicial determine a child’s biological father. Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, paternity can be established in one of several ways. In Florida, a child born to a married couple is presumed to be that of the husband.  Parents of a child born out of wedlock who later marry may establish paternity by updating the child’s birth certificate.  Similarly, unmarried parents may opt to execute a legal document at the hospital identifying the father of a child.  In other cases, paternity is determined by DNA paternity testing. The mother or putative father of a child born out of wedlock still must file a paternity action to get a judicial determination of paternity even with the existence of DNA results or a signed affidavit of paternity.   For example, mothers of children born out of wedlock can bring an action in court to prove that a person is the father of the child in order to obtain child support.  Non-married fathers  seeking to enforce visitation and custody rights must also go through the legal system. After paternity is judicially established, both parents assume legal parental rights and responsibility for the child.

For unmarried parents, paternity of a child must be determined to enforce parental rights and responsibilities, including custody/time-sharing, child support, and involvement in decisions as to the child’s health care, education, etc. Whether you need to resolve the disputed paternity of your child or establish paternity to enforce parental rights and child support, our knowledgeable attorneys can explain your legal rights and obligations.

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