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In 2013, 42% of children were born out of wedlock. With the increasing number of children born to unmarried parents, the law of paternity in Florida has become more complex in recent years. Paternity is a legal action to obtain a court order to identify and determine a child’s father. Any woman who is pregnant or has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child and any child may bring a paternity action.
 

Once paternity is established, the legal father possesses all the rights and responsibilities the law affords and requires. That includes a right to parenting and timesharing (formerly known as visitation) and to share in decisions involving the child’s health, education and day-to-day activities. It also brings the responsibility to pay child support and related expenses of the child. 

Often unmarried parents mistakenly believe that an acknowledgment by the father on the birth certificate is sufficient to establish his parental rights. They are surprised to find that is not the case.   Any unmarried biological father needs a judicial declaration of paternity to fully exercise and enjoy shared parental responsibility.  On the other hand, an unmarried mother should always seek a paternity order to establish a court-ordered parenting plan, with a timesharing schedule and sufficient child support. 

If your child was born while you were not married, we recommend that you seek a court order establishing paternity. The family law specialists at the Rice & Rose Law Firm will assist you in fulfilling the procedural requirements to establish paternity. Call today for a consultation if you have questions in this area.

 

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