Paternity

Sean L. Collin and Philip M. Snyder Provide Substantial Experience In All Matters To Paternity Actions

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Establishing Your Rights

A paternity action is brought to establish a parent-child relationship.  In Florida, a mother or father can file a paternity action.  In most cases, the mother of the child initiates a paternity action because the biological father is not voluntarily paying child support.

However, fathers can also file paternity actions when the mother is not allowing the father any time-sharing with the child or is dictating when and where the father may see the child depending on the mother’s mood or how much child support the father has paid.

Paternity of a child can be established through a birth certificate.  If the biological father signs the birth certificate he has sixty (60) days to remove his name.  If the biological father does not attempt to remove his name from the birth certificate, then the Courts will assume that he is the biological father.

It is very important that if a party believes that they may not be the father of a child to have a DNA test prior to signing a birth certificate, otherwise the father will be required to file a petition to disestablish paternity which can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Contact the paternity attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin in the Fort Lauderdale area, if you believe you are not the biological father but you signed a child’s birth certificate.

Knowing Your Obligations

Establishing paternity is important for asserting a number of legal rights and obligations in regard to children. Each of a child's parents has a responsibility to support the child and a right to maintain a strong parent-child relationship.

Moreover, the children have a right to a relationship with both of their parents.  Neither parent of the child has more rights than the other parent.

The State of Florida encourages both parties to foster a loving relationship between the child and the parent.  The parties will most likely have shared parental responsibility regarding the child in order to make joint decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and welfare.  Only in extreme cases will a party be awarded sole parental responsibility.

Paternity establishes many rights that carry with it a legal relationship with certain financial obligations and benefits. Whether medical coverage, access to benefits, or inheritance rights are at issue, establishing paternity provides the following benefits for children:

  • Inheritance of certain assets
  • Legal rights involving probate and the settlement of the father's estate
  • Coverage under father's health insurance plan
  • Access to father's medical records for health purposes
  • Eligibility to receive the father's Social Security disability or death benefits
  • Dependency claims for tax purposes when applying for student financial aid