5 Ways to Look at Father’s Rights in Florida
Families come in many different shapes and sizes; recent news stories and personal essays on news sites highlight this. As Father’s Day approaches, it is obvious to fathers throughout Florida, as well as to their children, that most relationships between fathers and children do not conform to the idealized image that greeting card companies show us. If the Father’s Day gift advertisements are to be believed, all dads love fix-it projects and the “how to” instructions for performing them. In that spirit, here are six ways to be a father according to Florida law, starting with the methods in which the man avoids acknowledgment of paternity, followed by the “path of least resistance” methods, and finally the ones in which the father takes the most active role in establishing a legal relationship with his children. If you want to establish paternity in Florida, or if you want to protect your rights now that a court has named you as a child’s father, contact an Orlando Father’s Rights Attorney.
- The Court Decides for You
With or without a DNA paternity test, the court can assign paternity to a man. When the court does this, the man then becomes legally responsible for financially supporting the children the court has declared are his. If you want to challenge this decision, you need a family lawyer.
- The Default Option
If you are married to the child’s mother when the child is born, you are the child’s legal father by default, and your name goes on the birth certificate. Several famous lawsuits in Florida have resulted in court decisions where the husband remains legally and financially responsible for the children, even after DNA tests show that he is not the biological father. Under Florida law, if you doubt that you are the biological father of a child your wife bore during your marriage, you must request a court-ordered DNA test no later than one year after you or your wife files for divorce. Even if you do not divorce, the sooner you resolve the matter, the better. If you have any doubts about the child’s paternity, ask for a DNA paternity test as soon as possible, including at birth, if the child has not yet been born.
- Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
If you and the child’s mother are not married, you can become the child’s legal father and get your name on the birth certificate by filing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. After 60 days of filing the form, the decision becomes irrevocable; not even a DNA test can change it. If you have been pressured into signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, contact a family lawyer.
- Retroactive Legitimation
If you marry the child’s mother after the child’s birth, you can then change the birth records so that your name appears on the birth certificate.
Adopting a child makes you his or her legal father, regardless of whether you are married or single.
Regardless of how you became a father what really matters is whether or not you will find yourself in a position where you need to establish and defend those rights. This is why lawyers who practice father’s rights law pay such close attention to new developments in the law as it relates to the establishment of paternity for dads.
If you feel as though the other parent is minimizing your significance in the parenting process then you will need to call an attorney for establishing parental rights or paternity as soon as possible.
Contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. About Paternity Cases
Do not let your ex force you to take responsibility for a child that is not yours or get in the way of your relationship with your children. Contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. in Orlando, Florida for a consultation.
Learn more on How Accurate Are Home DNA Tests.
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.