Establishing Paternity

Are you a father of a child born out of wedlock? Have you established yourself as your child’s legal father? There is a common misconception that an unmarried father, whose name is on their child’s birth certificate, has established paternity of the child. This is not true. While being on the birth certificate can be used as evidence of paternity, it DOES NOT establish paternity.

Image courtesy of photostock at

Image courtesy of photostock at

Under Florida law, a mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child, and she is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless a court order is entered stating otherwise. Essentially, this means the mother may leave the State before a paternity order is entered, and she cannot be ordered to return until a paternity order is entered. However, a court may look negatively upon a mother who has reason to believe a certain man is the child’s father and effectively does everything she can to alienate the child from the father.

Mothers in need of child support will only be granted child support once paternity has been established. The Department of Revenue has the authority to establish paternity in an administrative child support proceeding. The Department of Revenue does not have the authority to establish a timesharing schedule or rule on parental responsibility. Either the mother or the putative father may initiate a paternity proceeding in the circuit court that can decide all issues of paternity, child support, timesharing, and parental responsibility.

Visit our website at for more information on paternity and child custody. If you have any additional questions pertaining to paternity, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Keith or Danielle. If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

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     Posted on July 31, 2015 at 4:39 pm | No comment

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