When you believe you are the father of a child born in Florida but are not in a marriage with that child’s mother, you need to take certain steps if you want to have legal rights over your son or daughter. The same holds true if you are the mother of a child, were not in a marriage with the child’s father but wish to prove paternity so that you may start collecting child support.
Per the Florida Department of Revenue, while establishing paternity leads to these benefits for parents, it also proves advantageous for your child. Knowing paternal identity gives a child important information about his or her medical background and genetics. It also means that child might be able to get insurance under the parent’s policy or gain access to other benefits, such as Social Security. You may establish paternity in Florida using one of three methods.
1. By being in marriage at birth
If you and your child’s mother or father were in a marriage when your son or daughter was born, you had the option of establishing paternity voluntarily before leaving the hospital.
2. By legitimation or acknowledgment
You may establish paternity through legitimation or acknowledgment until your child turns 18. This involves either marrying one another later and doing so while applying for a marriage license or remaining unmarried and both voluntarily agreeing about paternity.
3. By an order
Sometimes, you may have to get a court order to establish paternity. This involves having either you or the party you believed fathered your child submit to genetic testing.
Once you prove paternity, you may move forward with related steps, such as creating new time-sharing or child support arrangements.