Paternity Testing in Florida Child Custody and Support Cases
Establishing legal paternity is a key component when it comes to child custody and child support agreements. Whoever is determined to be the legal father will have all the rights and responsibilities of a father. Some of these rights and responsibilities include requirement to pay child support, coordinating with the child’s mother in a joint custody agreement, sole custody, visitation agreements and more.
In some cases, there is a question as to a child’s rightful legal father. When you are looking to establish paternity, turn to a Tampa paternity lawyer at Robert Sparks Attorneys. Determining arrangements for your children presents a unique challenge for any parent. Call our firm to discuss the option of paternity testing and how it relates to child custody and child support.
Determining paternity establishes rights and responsibilities for the legal father, while also allotting rights and benefits for the child. For example, a child can know who the legal father is, the father’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate, the child can have access to their father’s family medical history and the child can have access to support from both parents such as financial support and medical support. Only a legal parent is allowed to obtain a child support order, visitation order and be able to make decisions in the life of the child. These are just a few benefits to establishing paternity.
Five Ways to Establish Paternity
According to Florida Law, there are five ways to establish paternity:
1) Marriage: The parents are married to each other when the child is born
2) Acknowledgement of Paternity: The unmarried couple signs a legal document in the hospital when the child is born, or later
3) Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing: Paternity is ordered if a genetic test proves fatherhood
4) Court Order: A judge orders paternity in court
5) Legitimation: The mother and natural father get married to each other after the child is born and update the birth record through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics
Establishing Paternity Through Genetic Testing
In some cases, the best course of action is to conduct scientific testing to determine the genetic father of the child. The most common method for DNA testing in these types of cases is to take cell samples (typically a swab of the inside of the person’s cheek) from the supposed father, the mother and the child. These tests are then compared to see if the man believed to be the father matches the DNA of the child. A judge can order genetic testing or another party can request it via an Administrative Order. In most cases where the paternity of a child is called into question, genetic testing is recommended.
Tampa Paternity and Family Law Attorneys
Every case that this firm handles is unique and made up of various differing circumstances. Determining paternity is incredibly important in the life of your child, and our firm understands this. Our goal is to help you accurately determine paternity so that the right custody, visitation and child support agreements can be reached. A parenting agreement that fits your unique situation is vital to the best interests of your child and can have a great impact on stability throughout the course of the child’s life. For answers to your questions about establishing paternity, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our experienced Tampa family lawyers by calling today.