Child Support and Custody in Paternity Cases

By Danielle Levy, Associate Attorney at Grossman Law & Conflict Management

In Florida, the father of a child born out of wedlock does not automatically have the same legal rights to the child as the mother. The presumed father also does not have the financial obligations.

Child Support and Custody

How does the Judge establish child support and custody in paternity cases?

Florida does not presume that any particular man is the child’s biological father. While being on the child’s birth certificate supports a presumption the named father is the biological father, the father needs to do more to secure his parental rights. A Judge’s determination of paternity is necessary to establish the father’s legal rights and obligations.

The easiest way to establish paternity is to agree before going to court. The mother and presumed father can sign an affidavit acknowledging that they are the biological parents of the named child. The mother acknowledges that she was unwed at the time of the child’s birth and that the presumed father is in fact the biological father. The presumed father acknowledges that he is the biological father, and that he and the mother will responsible for the child’s financial and medical support until the child is an adult. This affidavit of paternity can be completed at the birth hospital or at the Child Support Enforcement Office.

If the presumed father questions whether he is the father, either the mother or the presumed father may file a Petition to Determine Paternity with the Court, and the Court will issue an order for genetic testing in order to establish paternity. Establishing paternity is the first necessary step before the father is legally entitled to have parenting time with the child and legally obligated to financially support the child.

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Need assistance with child support and custody in a paternity case? Email, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

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     Posted on January 15, 2014 at 11:30 am | No comment

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