Orange County Paternity Lawyer

A father holding his infant son

Among Orange County residents, as among residents everywhere, issues of paternity, with all of the legal, emotional, and financial components, frequently arise. If you are dealing with an unresolved paternity matter in Orange County, contact Orlando Family Team. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help. 

No two paternity cases are identical, but we have the in-depth knowledge of the law to help you, whatever the circumstances — whether you are married or unmarried, whether you have to establish paternity or defend against a paternity action. Our paternity lawyers have successfully handled numerous paternity cases. You can count on us to make your best interests our priority and to deal with your case with kindness, sensitivity, and discretion.  

Defining Paternity in Orange County

Paternity is the determination of biological fatherhood. Paternity must be established before 

(1) the father can gain the right to custody or visitation or (2) the child can win the right to be supported and inherit. Children born within marriage are assumed to be the offspring of the husband unless proven otherwise. The latter situation has complexities that require an astute paternity attorney.

Why Paternity Is Important

Paternity is a significant issue in terms of determining who will support and be responsible for the child. Because the biological mother of a child is verifiable, but the biological father might remain unknown, disputes and contention have often surrounded such matters. 

Once paternity is established, the child’s father will have a legal obligation to financially support the child until maturity. A man who doubts his paternity can legally dispute his long-term obligation to the child. By the same token, a mother who feels sure of the father of her child can insist on DNA testing to provide her with the child support she needs and is legally entitled to. 

Of course, on many occasions, the father may be the one seeking to verify paternity to establish his right to visitation or custody. Whichever role you play in a paternity dispute, our lawyers are committed to protecting your rights and the rights of your child.

Modern Complications

In recent times, although DNA testing has offered clarification of paternity, two new facts have brought complications: [1] it has become much more acceptable for a woman to have a baby without being married or without being in a committed relationship, and [2] modern science has made it possible to have a baby by means of a sperm donor who may well be anonymous. This is another reason paternity matters require the services of a strong professional.

Florida Laws Surrounding Paternity

Under Florida law, as noted, a husband is presumed to be the father of any child in the marriage. Although establishing paternity is a bit more complicated when the parents are not married, especially if one parent denies that the man is the father, one of our highly qualified Orange County paternity attorneys can intervene to help settle the dispute.

Who Can Move to Establish Paternity in Orange County?

Either the mother of the child or the man who believes himself to be the father can initiate a paternity action in Florida. Also, if the mother or legal guardian of the child has requested government assistance, like Medicaid, the state’s Department of Revenue can try to determine paternity so that the government can hold the father responsible for support. 

Legalizing Paternity in Orange County

Having the father sign the child’s birth certificate only establishes presumed paternity. Official recognition requires one of the following:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment Establish Paternity

If both parents agree that the man is the father of the child, they can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, either at the hospital at the time of birth or later on. This form becomes legally binding after 60 days. Except for cases in which the father was coerced into signing, after 60 days, the document is irrevocable.

  1. Legitimation 

Legitimation takes place if the father and mother of the child marry one another after the child is born, update the child’s birth certificate, and file requisite forms with the court clerk. Our paternity attorney can assist with this process which will ensure the father’s parental rights and obligations.

  1. Administrative Order

Couples can avoid going to court by having free DNA testing offered by The Florida Department of Revenue. The process is a simple one, involving cheek swabs from the mother, alleged father, and child. If the results are positive, the man is proven to be the child’s father, and an administrative order will be issued to update the child’s birth certificate to include the father’s name. 

  1. Petition to Establish Paternity 

Either party can initiate a Petition to Establish Paternity, i.e. a formal request for the court to determine the father’s identity. This petition can be filed as long as the child is still a minor. The petitioner, however, must have been a resident of Florida for at least 6 months. This petition requires a court appearance during which issues of child support, health insurance for the child, custody, and visitation can also be addressed. If the alleged father does not show up to court, the court may enter a default judgment against him.

Mistakes in Paternity Cases/Paternity Fraud

Honest mistakes or deliberate lies can occur on the part of either party. If the person designated as the father of the child turns out not to be the child’s father, Florida permits him to file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity. Such a move, however, is complex and requires the skills of a talented paternity lawyer.

Contact a Capable Orange County Paternity Attorney Today

Because the lead attorneys of Orlando Family Team are a married couple, we have special insight into family dynamics. Whether you are the mother of a child in need of support, a father who wants to be a part of his child’s life, or a person who is being treated dishonestly or unfairly in terms of a paternity problem, contact our caring paternity attorneys to receive the powerful legal representation you need and deserve.