A Legal Right To Your Family
In Florida, all parents have the same rights and responsibilities whether the parents are married to each other, divorced or were never married. The same sets of laws govern child custody, child support, relocation and visitation for divorced and unmarried parents.
There are many reasons it is essential to establish paternity. Each child’s parents have a responsibility to support their child and a right to maintain a parental relationship. Children also have a legal right to a relationship with their parents.
Thomas-McDonald Law Firm, P.A. represents both parents, from mothers seeking child support payments to biological fathers, to secure the legal rights and obligations that come with fatherhood.
Your Paternity Matters
When a married couple has a child, the law recognizes the husband as the biological father. When an unmarried woman has a child, paternity action is often necessary to establish paternal rights. A DNA test will be used to prove paternity and presented to the court as evidence of parentage.
Once paternity is established, a father may seek to claim his parental rights through a parenting plan or parenting time with the child. Alternatively, with established paternity, a mother can file for child support for children that the biological father refuses to acknowledge on his own.
Establishing paternity rights carries many benefits and legal and financial obligations, including:
- Eligibility to receive child support
- Inheritance of certain assets
- Legal rights involving probate and the settlement of the father’s estate
- Health insurance coverage
- Access to father’s medical records
- Eligibility to receive Social Security Disability or death benefits
- Dependency claims for tax purposes when applying for student financial aid
Fathers also have rights under Florida law. Once paternity is established, fathers can assert their rights and pursue more rights, such as increased parenting time and the right to challenge an adoption.