In Florida, when a mother is married and gives birth, the law assumes the child's father is the mother's husband. But when the mother is unmarried at the time of the child's birth, paternity must be established, either voluntarily or through a court order.
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If a mother is left to support and raise a child on her own, it stands to reason that a child support order would benefit her and her child. Additionally, the alleged father may have health insurance benefits that are available for the child.
Aside from the benefit of having a father's involvement, a child may also be entitled to government benefits if the father is disabled or a veteran. The child would also be entitled to inherit from the father's estate.
Many men are becoming aware of the importance of a father in a child's life. If the parents are not on good terms, the alleged father may need court orders for his share of parenting time. The father may want joint decision-making authority with the mother. This means that the father and mother have an equal voice in decisions concerning the child's health care, education, and religious upbringing among other major issues. A father cannot obtain these orders without establishing his paternity.
Many fathers will not discover the paternity of a child until well after it is born. Florida statutes recognize that and give fathers the right to file a paternity action from birth up to 18 years of age. Whether the child is an infant, elementary school age, or a teenager, fathers have a right to file a paternity action so they can be a part of that child’s life.
To be able to file a petition for paternity in the state of Florida, the person has to be a resident of Florida for at least six months.
Florida paternity laws do allow existing paternity orders to be modified — but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes, original orders may get outdated due to vagueness or a change in circumstance, which is held under higher scrutiny in family law because the original order, including timesharing, is intended as a reflection of the best interests of the children.
A family law attorney is vital in all types of paternity actions because it is critical to assert the proper legal grounds and file the appropriate documentation for the judge to grant your requests. Fathers have rights and responsibilities according to Florida paternity laws, and having the right legal guidance and assistance is key to getting the best outcome in a paternity action.
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