When parents are married, both the mother and father have the rights and responsibilities to raise every child born to them. However, when the parents of a child are not married to each other when the child is born, paternity is not assumed. While it’s not always true that all the children in a marriage are biologically related to both parents, it’s often assumed that they are the legal parent. Without a marriage contract to tell the courts to assume this, the court needs to establish paternity.

Paternity is often assumed to be the establishment of someone’s status as the biological father of a child, but that is not the case. Paternity is the establishment of someone’s legal status as the father of a child. This means that a father does not have to be biologically related to the child to have paternity in the eyes of the law.

If no paternity is established, the child has a biological father, but not have a legal father. In this case, the biological father does not have rights to the child. Until paternity is established, the mother generally has sole legal rights over the child. This is the case in Florida. Our Florida paternity attorney can help you if you need to establish paternity.

How to Establish Paternity

Paternity can be established through a notarized Acknowledgment of Paternity form (Form DH-432). This form is to be completed by both the mother and father. The signing of this form must be witnessed by at least two individuals or a public notary. The Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement may also seek to establish paternity for child support purposes only. DNA tests are the primary means of establishing the father’s identity.

It can also be established after the child is born if the parents marry. This is done by filing the Affirmation of Common Child(ren) Born in Florida form (DH-743A) or by providing a written statement under oath when applying for a marriage license. Once this form is completed, the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate.

A judge may also establish paternity via a court order. In this circumstance, a civil action is filed and the courts determine whether or not a man is the father of the child in question. This man will be known as the “alleged father” until the identity of the father is established.

Other Ways to Prove Paternity Besides DNA Tests

While DNA is the main way that paternity is established, there are other ways as well. These ways include:

  • Bone marrow testing
  • Genetic testing
  • Circumstantial evidence, such as behavioral patterns
  • Prenatal test

What Does Established Paternity Allow a Father to Do?

Once paternity has been established, the father has legal rights to make decisions about their child’s raising. This means that the father can: 

  • Create a parenting plan
  • Seek custody rights
  • Establish visitation plans
  • Seek a court order for child support or a change in a child support agreement
  • Provide the child with access to their family medical history
  • Provide the child with health insurance
  • Name the child as an heir to an inheritance

Need to Establish Your Identity as a Father? Contact C. Alvarez Law Today

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things in life, but you or your child’s other parent miss out if paternity isn’t established. Don’t miss out on your child’s life. Let the Florida lawyers at C. Alvarez Law help you establish your paternity, allowing you to exercise your rights as a father and raise your child. Contact us today.