Establishing paternity in Florida

Children who are born to an unwed mother in Florida do not have a father who is legally recognized. In these situations paternity, or legal fatherhood, should be established for a number of reasons that are beneficial to both the child and the dad.

According to TX Access, the benefits related to determining paternity include:  

  • The child knows who the father is and is legally connected to him
  • Access to the medical history of the father's family
  • Establishes rights to inheritance or death benefits
  • The birth certificate includes the father's name
  • Potential health insurance coverage through father's insurance

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, the establishment of paternity is required in order to ask the father for medical or child support. Paternity is also beneficial for both parents in that they have the legal right to participate in major decisions about the child and ask the court for child support or custody.

In Florida, there are three ways that paternity can be determined for unwed parents. The easiest way is at birth, when both parents voluntarily establish who the father is. Acknowledgment can be made anytime between birth and the age of 18 by both parents voluntarily. If unmarried at the birth, but they get married later on, the parents can establish paternity through the marriage license. The third way is through a legal order. Either parent can request the order, or it can be ordered by a judge. In this case, genetic testing is done to establish who the father is. 

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