Though for thousands of years, paternity was a matter of speculation or assumption, a few decades ago, paternity testing became available for common use. In Winter Park, Florida, as throughout the country, questions of paternity can now be scientifically settled. Even so, legal, emotional, and financial disputes concerning paternity still arise and sometimes result in litigation. If you are dealing with an unresolved paternity issue, you need the legal representation Orlando Family Team can provide. Contact us now for competent, discreet counsel.

We are well-prepared to represent either party in a paternity case, no matter what the complications. Whether you are married or unmarried, seeking to establish paternity for reasons of support or visitation, or defending against a paternity action, you can depend on our first-rate paternity lawyers. We have a long history of handling paternity cases successfully and will always treat you with the kindness and respect you deserve.

The Importance of Determining Paternity in Winter Park

Paternity, the determination of biological fatherhood, must be established before the father can be assured of his right to custody or parenting time. Similarly, paternity must be proved before that child will obtain the legal right to be financially supported by, and inherit from, the father. Because the biological mother of a child is verifiable, but the biological father may remain unknown or unverified, proving paternity through DNA testing is critical. 

It should be noted, however, that children born into an existing marriage are presumed to be offspring of the marriage unless proven otherwise. 

Parenthood in Same-Sex Marriages

In same-sex marriages, depending on whether the child was born or conceived before or after the marriage, what the means of conception were, or whether the nonbiological parent has adopted the child, things can become complicated. That’s why it is crucial to have the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney. Nonetheless, if the same-sex parents are married when the child is born, both names will be on the Florida birth certificate, validating the parenthood of both individuals.

How Paternity Becomes a Legal Matter in Winter Park

If there is a question of who the child’s father is, it is essential to have a knowledgeable paternity attorney at your side whether:

  • You are an unmarried mother who needs child support from the child’s father
  • You are an unmarried father who wants to be involved in your child’s life but is being shut out by your child’s mother
  • You are not the father of the child but are being coerced to pay child support
  • You suspect you may be the father of the child and want to be a responsible parent by providing child support if your paternity test is positive
  • You are the mother of the child and have applied for Medicaid or other government benefits, so the Department of Revenue is now looking for the father of your child to hold him responsible for meeting his child’s financial needs.

Whatever the situation, our paternity lawyers are eager to help.

Social and Medical Changes Can Complicate Paternity Further

A few different factors have brought other challenges to the legal questions surrounding paternity, for example:

  • It has become increasingly acceptable for a woman to have a baby without being married or in a committed relationship
  • Women can now have babies by means of a sperm donor who may well be anonymous

These situations make it all the more important for both mothers and alleged fathers to have strong legal advocates.

Legalizing Paternity in Winter Park

Although having the father’s signature on the child’s birth certificate establishes presumed paternity, for official validation, one of the following is required:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment to Establish Paternity — in which both parents agree that the man is the father of the child and sign a voluntary acknowledgment of this fact at the time of birth or later. Unless the father proves he was coerced at the time of signing within 60 days, the document is irrevocable.
  2. Legitimation — in which the father and mother of the child marry one another after the birth, file necessary forms with the court, and update their child’s birth certificate. Legitimation makes the father legally responsible for his child.
  3. Administrative Order — in which the couple avoids a trip to court, instead undergoing free DNA testing by The Florida Department of Revenue. If cheek swabs taken from the couple and the child prove positive, the man’s paternity is considered proven and the child’s birth certificate can be updated with the father’s name.
  4. Petition to Establish Paternity — a formal request for the court to establish the father’s identity that can be filed as long as the child is still a minor. However, the person making the request must be a Florida resident for at least 6 months. A Petition to Establish Paternity necessitates a court appearance during which issues of child support, child custody, health insurance, and visitation can also be addressed. If the alleged father fails to appear, a default judgment may be ordered against him.

Even Paternity Tests Are Not Perfect

Paternity tests are 99.9 percent accurate. Rare mistakes may be attributable to honest errors in the administration of tests, mishandling of samples, deliberate fraud, or inconclusive test results. If a man is erroneously named as the father of the child in Florida, he can file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity, an action that requires a talented paternity attorney. 

Contact a Skilled Winter Park Paternity Lawyer Today

Paternity can be a sensitive subject and our Orlando Family Team attorneys will handle it as such. Whether you are a father wanting to get to know your child, a mother wanting the child support you’re entitled to receive, or a person being treated unfairly in a legal matter related to paternity, contact our accomplished paternity lawyers now for the legal and emotional support you need.