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How is paternity established in Florida?

Establishing legal paternity in Florida benefits the entire family. It's especially important when seeking child support after the demise of a relationship which produced one or more children. To help you make the best possible decisions for your family, the Florida Department of Revenue offers the following guide. 

First and foremost, establishing legal paternity ensures that the child in question is privy to certain rights. For instance, legal paternity allows a child access to health insurance if a policy is possessed by the father. It also ensures the child has access to important medical information, which is crucial to provide the right sort of healthcare and diagnostic testing. Without legal paternity established, an ex-spouse or partner will not be able to seek child support on behalf of the child, which can result in serious financial instability. Additionally, if the father's name is not on a child's birth certificate, he will have a difficult time gaining visitation or custody. 

There are a few different ways paternity can be established in Florida. If parents are married at the time of delivery, then paternity is established automatically. If not, both parents must establish paternity voluntarily at the time of birth in the hospital. If paternity is not established at this point, parents have other options at their disposal. 

For example, parents can become married after the child is born, which would have the same impact as being married when the mother gives birth. If the parents choose not to be married, genetic testing can be used to establish paternity. Parents can go to court and request paternity testing, or the judge can request testing during a court hearing. This is usually the case when one the mother is seeking child support for the child, which the father may or may not dispute. 

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